Two hours prior to the governor's invitation to stake claim ends, Shiv Sena Supremo Uddhav Thackeray, on Monday, has spoken to Congress interim-chief Sonia Gandhi, as per sources. Sources report that the Sena supremo talked to Gandhi about a possible alliance with the Congress- NCP to stake claim in Maharashtra to form the next government. She has reportedly told Thackeray that she was in touch with her MLAs and will take a final call on it soon. Thackeray had previously spoken to Gandhi on Sunday, after BJP's refusal to form a government in Maharashtra.
Thackeray also completed his meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, earlier in the day, discussing an alliance. Both Shiv Sena and Congress are now awaiting Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi to take the final call. Meanwhile, senior Maharashtra leaders like Balasaheb Thorat, Prithviraj Chavan, and Ashok Chavan have flown to Delhi to meet Gandhi, to take a final call on any possible alliance with Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena's sole Union Minister Arvind Sawant too quit the Modi cabinet in protest.
Meanwhile, sources report that the BJP core committee is meeting at former CM Devendra Fadnavis' residence in Mumbai. It will also hold a press conference post-meet regarding the same. BJP has also allegedly summoned its top leaders to Mumbai to avoid any defection from the saffron party to Sena or any other political party.
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. NCP is currently waiting for Congress to decide on the alliance. Senior Congress leaders will meet with Sonia Gandhi to take a final call. 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.