As Shiv Sena continued its attack on the BJP over government formation, the party on Saturday said that it will stay away from the Sunday meeting of NDA constituents in Delhi, on the eve of the winter session of Parliament beginning on November 18. Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the party will not attend the NDA meeting on November 17, as the severance of ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance was now only a formality.
Another Sena MP, Vinayak Raut, said they are not attending because they have not been invited. Sunday, November 17, also happens to be the death anniversary of Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
"I have learnt that the meeting (of NDA constituents) is being held on November 17. We had already decided against attending the meeting considering the developments in Maharashtra...our minister resigning from the Central government," Raut was quoted as saying by PTI. He was referring to Sena's lone minister in the Narendra Modi government, Arvind Sawant, who resigned on November 11.
Asked if only a formal announcement of the Sena walking out of the NDA remains to be made, Raut said, "You can say that. There is no problem with saying that".
The Sena, NCP and Congress have reached a consensus on a Common Minimum Programme (CMP), the basis of their proposed alliance government, and there was no need to discuss it in Delhi, Raut said.
The statement came even as NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and Congress president Sonia Gandhi are likely to meet in Delhi on Sunday and discuss the CMP and other modalities of forming a coalition with the Sena. However, the uncertainty over the meeting remained as sources said it may be deferred.
Pawar has convened a meeting of the NCP's core committee in Pune on Sunday, which makes it difficult for him to reach Delhi in time, party sources were quoted as saying by PTI on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, the Sena also accused the BJP of "horse-trading under the guise of President's rule." The state is under President's rule since November 12. In its mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena targeted its former ally for exuding confidence in forming the government after backing off initially. In the editorial, the party sharpened its attack on the BJP over a statement made by state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil.
Patil had said on Friday that with the support of independents, his party's tally in the 288-member Assembly stands at 119, and it will form government soon. The BJP's own strength is 105.
"Those with 105 seats had earlier conveyed to the Governor that they do not have the majority. How come are they now claiming that only they will form the government?" Sena wrote in Saamana.
"...the intention of horse-trading stands exposed now. The lies of those promising transparent governance are becoming evident now," it said, adding that "unethical" ways do not suit the tradition of the state.
Referring to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari's comment Friday, in which he likened politics with cricket, the Sena said that cricket has become more of a business than a game now. There is "horse-trading and fixing" in cricket too, the party said, "Hence, the suspicion is always there whether it is the game that wins or the fixing (in cricket). Hence, Gadkari likening Maharashtra politics to the romantic game of cricket is apt," it said.
Maharashtra has been under President's rule since Tuesday after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari conveyed to President Ram Nath Kovind that no party or alliance was in the position to form the government.
The Sena reached out to the Congress-NCP combine for government formation after its demand for sharing the chief minister's post and equal distribution of portfolios was rejected by the BJP, its pre-poll ally.
In the 288-member assembly, the BJP and the Sena secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively. The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats, respectively.
Meanwhile, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was quoted as saying that the BJP would form the government.
The BJP held a meeting of its defeated candidates here on Saturday. Chandrakant Patil told reporters later that Fadnavis expressed confidence that the party would form the government.
Sena's Sanjay Raut tweets: 'Yaaron naye mausam ne ye ahsaan kiya hai...'
On Saturday, Sanjay Raut tweeted the lines of an Urdu poem, penned by Bashir Badr. "Yaaron naye mausam ne ye ahsaan kiya hai. Yaad mujhe dard purane nahi aate (Friends, this new weather has done me a favour. I do not remember the old pain now)."
Cong, NCP, Shiv Sena meeting with governor postponed
A meeting of the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena with governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari was postponed on Saturday. According to NCP, the meeting was related to farmers issues and other administrative subjects and was not political in nature.
However, the governor took stock of the damage done to crops caused by unseasonal rains during October - November 2019 and announced financial relief to the farmers. A relief of Rs 8,000 per hectare up to 2 hectares for agricultural kharif crops and a relief of Rs 18,000 per hectare up to 2 hectares for horticulture/perennial crops was announced today.
-With PTI inputs