BJP, Sena teams meet Governor separately

As the tussle for power sharing continues in Maharashtra, delegations of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari separately at Raj Bhavan on Monday. The BJP delegation was led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the Sena team by Transport Minister Diwakar Raote. The two said the meeting was just a courtesy call to extend Deepavali greetings to the Governor, but party sources indicated a discussion on the modalities of government formation did take place. The alliance partners had secured the support of five more Independent legislators, party leaders said. “Transport Minister Diwakar Raote called on the Governor and extended Deepavali greetings. The Chief Minister too exchanged greetings with the Governor,” said a release from the Governor’s office. “I have been meeting the Governor to extend Diwali greetings for many years now. This was just a courtesy visit,” Mr. Raote clarified. His party maintained it was not responsible for delay in government formation. It was the BJP’s primary responsibility, Sena leaders said. “We are not responsible for the situation in Maharashtra, where no government has been formed. We all know what the formula (sharing) is and our party will follow the coalition dharma,” Sena leader Sanjay Raut said. The independent candidates who extended support to the BJP and the Shiv Sena included Meera Bhayandar’s Geeta Jain, Solapur candidate Rajendra Raut and Ravi Rana from the Badnera constituency. Others who have already extended support include Melghat legislator Rajkumar Patel and Achalpur legislator Bacchu Kadu. Earlier, saffron alliance partner and Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and Revolutionary Party of India (RPI) leader Ramdas Athawale advised the Sena to drop the idea of sharing power for 2.5 years with the BJP. The party must instead accept the post of Deputy Chief Minister for Aaditya Thackeray for five years, he said. “I don’t think the BJP will agree for a rotational Chief Minister, but the position of Deputy CM can be given to Shiv Sena for 5 years. I think the Shiv Sena should accept the Deputy Chief Minister’s position for Aaditya Thackeray and Devendra Fadnavis should be Chief Minister,” said Mr. Athawale. BJP State president Chandrakant Patil has called for a meeting of newly elected legislators on October 30. The meeting is to elect the legislature party leader. The two alliance partners had won 161 seats, including 105 for the BJP and 56 for the Sena.

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