Political winds are changing directions by the hour in Maharashtra. Putting rest to heightening speculation, the Nationalist Congress Party has now expressed explicit willingness to join hands with Shiv Sena to form a new government. However, speaking to Republic TV, Mumbai NCP chief Nawab Malik laid out three conditions that any future tie-up would be required to be fulfilled by the saffron party.
"If the governor is calling Shiv Sena, then it has to first announce that they are not in the NDA (National Democratic Alliance). They must part from the Bharatiya Janata Party and they must give a proposal (to the NCP) on how they want to go ahead. So until and unless they resign from the Centre, they break relation with the BJP, they sent a proposal to us, no decision can be announced (sic)," said heavyweight NCP leader Nawab Malik.
"On November 12, a meeting of MLAs has been called; the issue will be discussed with the MLAs and the final decision of the party will be taken," apprised Malik. The bombshell remarks from Malik comes after the BJP formally announced that it has informed Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari of its inability to muster numbers to form a government. The Governor has reportedly invited the second-largest party, Shiv Sena to stake a claim for a new government.
When asked if the NCP and Congress are ready to give the Chief Minister's post to the Shiv Sena, as it is wanting to from estranged ally BJP, Malik said that the party will consult with ally Congress and all its members and then come to a decision. He asserted the NCP will take no decision "single-handedly". "Send us the proposal, then a common minimum program and agenda of the future government, these all the issues to be discussed first (sic)," said Malik reiterating his three conditions.
Soon after BJP's announcement, NCP leader Majeed Memon, while speaking to Republic TV said that the NCP does not want re-election in the state, therefore, it will come out with some arrangement. "If we don't agree with some arrangements, some understandings among parties, the only result would be re-elections. Nobody wants that, even the people do not want that," he said.
BJP on Sunday evening met governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and informed the governor that it will not form the government in the state. Addressing a press conference after meeting the governor, BJP leader Chandrakant Patil said that Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena can stake claim to form the government. He said that Sena has betrayed the mandate of the people of Maharashtra. Announcing BJP's decision that they conveyed to the Maharashtra governor on Sunday evening, Chandrakant Patil said, "In the elections, BJP, RPI, Sena and other parties were given a mandate. Yesterday, the governor invited the BJP to form the government. We fought for the alliance, got votes for the alliance. Sena does not want to be part of the alliance. Sena chose to insult the mandate. We won't form the government. We informed the governor. If Sena has to go with NCP, Congress, we wish them good luck."
Speaking minutes after BJP's announcement, Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said that if Uddhav Thackray has said that there will be Sena CM then there will be Sena CM at any cost. Raut held a meeting at Matoshree on Sunday evening. Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray met the Sena MLAs in Hotel Retreat where they have been holed up to prevent poaching by other sides in view of a political crisis in the state. Earlier, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the party is ready to form a government if 'no one is ready to form government', hinting at a Cong-NCP-Sena alliance.