2 Meetings to be held As Sena Steps Up Pressure On BJP in Maharastra

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Two meetings in Delhi today may have a bearing on Maharashtra, where government formation has been stalled for 11 days because of a power tussle between the BJP and its ally Shiv Sena, who won a clear majority together.

At a time Delhi is shrouded by toxic, record smog that has forced schools to shut down and people to stay indoors, two top Maharashtra leaders are heading to the city for talks – Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP and opposition stalwart Sharad Pawar, whose Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) finished third in last month’s state election.

Devendra Fadnavis meet with his party chief, Home Minister Amit Shah. Sharad Pawar is likely to hold discussions with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

In Maharashtra, a third meeting today could be of huge significance; the Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, a Rajya Sabha MP, is expected to meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and urge him to invite the single largest party to form government.

The Shiv Sena leader today tweeted a photo of him with party chief Uddhav Thackeray along with a message, saying”journey is enjoyable before reaching the goal”.

The demand, signaling that the Sena has amped up the staring contest between the allies, appears to be aimed at pushing the BJP to a corner.

“There are no backdoor discussions. There is a deadlock and we are not responsible for it. BJP being the single largest party should claim to form government first… but if they fail, we can stake claim,” Sanjay Raut told reporters on Sunday.

The BJP with 105 seats and the Sena with 56 seats have a clear majority in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly. But the BJP’s hopes for a seamless transition into a second straight term with Devendra Fadnavis in charge are on hold with the Sena demanding equal power-share under what it calls was a “50:50 formula” discussed with Amit Shah earlier this year, before the national election in May. According to the Sena, the plan was for chief ministers from each party sharing the five-year term equally.

The BJP has firmly rejected the idea and insists Mr Fadnavis will be chief minister for a full term.

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