MAHA CRISIS … With BJP opting out, governor invites Shiv Sena to try ministry formation

MUMBAI: With the BJP deciding against forming a government in Maharashtra, in view of the non-cooperation from its ally the Shiv Sena, Governor  BS Koshyari asked the Sena on Sunday night to try and form the government. The Shiv Sena is the second largest party, with 56 MLAs, after the BJP’s 105 MLAs.
BJP sources said it did not want to face an embarrassment of not winning a confidence vote in the assembly if it formed a government now on invite from the governor. The party is of the view that the Shiv Sena too would not be able to run a ministry with sufficient numbers in the house, though what it aims at now is to form a government with Aditya Thackeray as CM. If it lasts for a few weeks, even that should be fine.
The NCP of Sharad Pawar is currently not keen on backing the Shiv Sena to form government. Its final stand will be known on Tuesday, after a high-level meeting of the party. One condition that the NCP put forward with Sena is that any support is conditional to the Sena first exiting the NDA altogether. This would mean it should pull out is minister from the Modi government, Arvind Savant, who handles the ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises.
The Shiv Sena has its game plan, but its details are not revealed. It is not even sure whether, at the last moment, it will select someone other than Aditya Thackeray for the CM post.
The NCP has 54 MLAs and the Congress 44 in the new assembly. The Congress party has ruled out supporting the Sena, which has an anti-minority approach to matters, which is against the secular stands of the Congress party. So, how the Sena manages a majority is worth a watch. The AIMIM of Assaduddin Owaisi has two members and the CPIM one member in the new assembly, and they are bound to take anti-BJP stands. 
There are also those who feel the beginning of the end of the Shiv Sena is already evident. Everything depends on how smartly the Sena leadership, meaning Uddhav Thackeray, play his cards now. NCP’s role will be crucial. If the NCP buys peace with the BJP, and backs it to form a government, feelings could go round that Modi has entered into a deal with Sharad Pawar to bail him and his close associates like Praful Patel out of some troublesome cases the ED and the CBI are investigating. At this moment, all what Pawar might want would be this, too.  IHN-NN

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