In an effort to end to the impasse over government formation in Maharashtra, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nitin Gadkari on Thursday cancelled all his appointments and flew to Nagpur. He is expected to meet with Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and discuss the political scenario with both the BJP and Shiv Sena unwilling to let go of the Chief Minister's post as the prospects of President's Rule loom ahead by this weekend. The tenure of the present assembly ends in two days.
There continues to be suspense over the shape of the next government in Maharashtra even though people of the state gave a clear mandate to the ruling coalition in the assembly election. Two alliances were in the contest for power in Maharashtra, the BJP-Shiv Sena's NDA and the NCP-Congress representing the UPA. Now, post-election, Shiv Sena, which won 56 seats, has staked claim to the Chief Minister’s Office, though on a rotational basis. The BJP, which emerged as the single-largest party with 105 seats, is unwilling to come to terms with Shiv Sena's demands.
Here's what has transpired since the Maharashtra Assembly election result was announced on October 24
October 26: Aaditya Thackeray for CM's post, says Shiv Sena
Newly-elected MLAs of Shiv Sena demanded that Aaditya Thackeray be made the chief minister in the next government. On the day of the verdict (October 24), Thackeray hardened Sena's stand by reminding the BJP of the 50:50 formula "agreed upon" between BJP president Amit Shah, Thackeray and Fadnavis ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
October 28: Fadnavis, Sena's Raote meet Maharashtra governor
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote met state Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari separately on Monday. Leaders of both the parties, however, claimed they wanted to extend Diwali greetings to the governor, and denied that there would be any political discussion on the formation of next government in the state.
Shiv Sena released a video clip on social media of Devendra Fadnavis seeking to rebut his claims that Amit Shah never promised the CM's post for two-and-a-half years to the Sena. The clip with a caption "Jara Yaad karo Jabani" (Remember the assurance) was put out by Harshal Pradhan, a close aide of Uddhav Thackeray.
October 30: Shiv Sena softens stand on its demand
The Shiv Sena softened its stand on its demand for rotational chief ministers and “50:50 power-sharing” in its negotiations with BJP over government formation in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said it was necessary for the party to stay in the BJP-led alliance in the larger interest of Maharashtra, but without compromising on “respect”. To a question on whether the Shiv Sena was adamant on implementing the equal power-sharing formula, Raut blamed the media for raking it up. “You (the media) are saying this. We only want things to be done according to what has been decided earlier.”
October 31: Key Shiv Sena leader's meet with Pawar sparks speculation
This day saw a series of meetings between senior leaders of major non-BJP parties, triggering talks in political circles about the possibility of the Sena forming a government with the backing of opposition parties. The three Maharashtra Congress leaders met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at the latter's residence. Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan flew to Delhi to meet party chief Sonia Gandhi amid talks in political circles about the possibility of the Sena forming a government with support from opposition parties.
November 3: Sonia rules out alliance with Sena in Maharashtra
Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi refused to extend support to the Shiv Sena for forming the state government in Maharashtra, sources said.
Sonia Gandhi's refusal to partner with the Shiv Sena comes hours after Nationalist Congress President (NCP) Sharad Pawar met her in New Delhi amid the stalemate between the Shiv Sena and the BJP over a power-sharing arrangement in Maharashtra.
November 4: Thackeray to take oath as CM, says Rahul N Kanal
A close confidante of Aaditya Thackeray, Rahul N Kanal, claimed that the young Shiv Sena leader will take oath as the chief minister at Mumbai's Shivaji Park.
"God willingly !!! Waiting to hear these words and see the spectacle again at the same spot where our guiding light left for heavenly aboard and his blessings are with one and all...with the responsibility to serve our beloved Maharashtra!!! God is Great, Jai Hind Jai Maharashtra," tweeted Kanal, who is a core committee member of Shiv Sena's youth wing Yuva Sena.
November 6: Sharad Pawar, Sanjay Raut meet in Mumbai
Sanjay Raut met NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai. "This was a courtesy call," Raut told reporters later. He also said that there had been no talks yet between RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on government formation.
November 7: Gadkari in Nagpur, Shiv Sena reiterates its demand
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari cancelled all his appointments and took a flight to Nagpur. He is likely to meet Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat at its headquarters. They are expected to discuss the political scenario. Meanwhile, Sanjay Raut reiterated that the next government will be formed by his party with its own Chief Minister.
November 7: On question of him becoming the chief minister, Nitin Gadkari said that Fadnavis would be the CM, not him. "There's no question of me returning to Maharashtra. I will continue my work in Delhi," said BJP's troubleshooter.
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