Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari late yesterday invited the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the next government in the state, a party said.
“Our delegation has been invited by the governor and the indication is that a letter of invitation will be given to us,” NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said.
“Tomorrow we shall discuss with the Congress on the ways and means to form the next government,” he told reporters.
Earlier, senior NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said he was called by the governor at 8.30pm, but claimed he had no knowledge why he was called.
Malik added that given the short 24-hour time limit, the Congress-NCP alliance could not comply with all the requirements to enable the Shiv Sena finalise its claim for forming the government.
“The governor requires letters with signatures, names, constituency names and the number of all the supporting legislators which was difficult to organise at such a short notice. The Sena sought additional time, but the governor expressed his inability to grant the extension,” Malik said.
On Sunday, the Bharatiya Janata Party expressed its inability to form the government, and yesterday the Shiv Sena could not produce the letters of support from the Congress and the NCP though it had secured ‘in-principle’ support from both parties.
The Congress did not commit support to a government headed by Uddhav Thackeray’s party as some senior leaders expressed opposition to such a move.
According to sources, three senior leaders - A K Antony, Mallikarjun Kharge and K C Venugopal - particularly were opposed to supporting a Shiv Sena government as they feared backlash for the Congress in other states.
The Congress has not closed the window but the party has ideological issues with the Shiv Sena, the sources said.
Even Maharashtra leader Manik Rao Thackeray had reservations as he said that “there is an issue of ideological differences with Shiv Sena”.
An indication about Congress’ disinclination to support the Shiv Sena came in the afternoon after the meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC) Venugopal was asked about the decision.
He laughed and said: “No outside or inside.”
A subsequent meeting saw Venugopal talking to legislators from Maharashtra to ascertain their views.
The Sena could not gauge the Congress style of functioning as its emissary waited to receive the letter of support while the meeting was underway.
The Shiv Sena had been given a deadline till 7.30pm by the governor.
The BJP emerged as the single largest part in the state elections, and was expected to comfortably retain power with the help of the Shiv Sena.
But in-fighting between the BJP and the Shiv Sena, which has gone on for a fortnight, has culminated in the allies parting ways, dealing the first major political blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party since it retained power with a landslide mandate in a May general election.
On Sunday, the BJP’s state president Chandrakant Patil said his party had decided to not stake claim to form government.
In a tweet yesterday, the Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant, the federal minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, also quit from Modi government.
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