In a tussle to sit in the Opposition, Maharashtra Congress general Secretary Mallikarjuna Kharge on Monday stated that the Congress was awarded the mandate for sitting in the opposition and would do so, speaking to reporters in Delhi. He added that the party's High Command would decide on the path forward. This development comes after the governor invited the Shiv Sena to form the government in Maharashtra after BJP failed to do so.
"We are repeatedly telling that we have got the mandate to sit in Opposition. At present, the party's position is the same and can't tell beyond that. Today there is a meeting at 10 AM, we will go according to what instruction high command gives," he said. Shiv Sena's sole Union Minister Arvind Sawant too has resigned from his cabinet post in the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises on Monday, in protest.
Meanwhile, the Congress MLAs holed up in a resort in Jaipur have set a list of demands to the Sena, as per sources. Congress MLAs will allegedly back the Shiv Sena and the NCP from outside, if they get six portfolios each for NCP and Congress, report sources. Also, they wish to have a deputy Chief Minister from Congress and NCP - both parties. The MLAs have reiterated the fact that the party should form the government in Maharashtra for sure. Sena Supremo Uddhav Thackeray is in conversation with both NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi.
Blaming the Sena for fracturing the Mahayuti alliance, BJP announced that it would not form the next government in the state on Sunday, after meeting the governor. Sena, being the second-largest part was then invited to form the government - proving its ability by Monday evening- 7:30 PM. Both NCP and Congress are now in a huddle, talking with their MLAs discussing a possible alliance with the saffron party. Both party chiefs will head a core committee meeting in Delhi, while Sena MP Sanjay Raut is set to meet Sonia Gandhi in Delhi to offer alliance terms. BJP inspite of stating its inability to form the next govt, too is set to hold a core group meeting headed by Devendra Fadnavis. The major tiff between the two ideologically similar parties BJP and Shiv Sena is for the 50-50 formula and sharing the CM post for 2.5 years each. BJP has refused to both, with the BJP willing to give Shiv Sena 13 cabinet portfolios and keeping 26 portfolios for itself.
The saffron alliance swept Maharashtra on October 24, winning a combined tally of 161 (BJP- 105, Sena -56), but is yet to put its majority to use. Meanwhile, the 'Maha- Agadhi' alliance (NCP-Congress) bagged 98 seats in total. The halfway mark is 145.