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Maharashtra: BJP prepares to stake claim to govt, hopes to wrap up nitty-gritty in 2 days

Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde has said discussions with the BJP on the next cabinet or prospective ministers were yet to take place, but would happen soon.

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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is preparing to stake claim to the Maharashtra government following Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray’s resignation Wednesday night.

The party aims to wrap up the formalities and the oath-taking ceremony in the next two or three days, ThePrint has learnt.

Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who was camping first in Surat and then Guwahati for the last 10 days, is expected to come to Mumbai soon to talk about the next government with the BJP.

Uddhav Thackeray resigned as chief minister Wednesday night, a day before his Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government — comprising the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress — was to face a floor test after the worst-ever rebellion in his party.

After the group revolted earlier this month, the MVA government lost its majority in the assembly.

Meetings to decide next steps

Senior Maharashtra BJP leaders went into a huddle on Thursday morning, a day after Thackeray’s resignation, at Devendra Fadnavis’ official residence Sagar.

The meeting was attended by Fadnavis, BJP Maharashtra President Chandrakant Patil and party functionaries Ashish Shelar, Girish Mahajan, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Prasad Lad, Pravin Darekar and BJP National General Secretary C.T. Ravi.

The leaders were likely to take stock of the numbers and chalk out a plan for talks with the Shiv Sena rebel camp.

A BJP leader close to the negotiations told ThePrint: “It is just a matter of a couple of days now.” He said the Eknath Shinde group would most likely meet the Governor after it landed in Mumbai. “We will discuss with our central leadership and the government will be formed within two days,” he added.

A source from the Shinde camp confirmed that the leader would reach Mumbai Thursday.

A second BJP source said the central leadership would weigh in on the oath-taking and prospective cabinet members, adding, “After the go-ahead from Delhi, things will move forward.”

Shinde did not respond to ThePrint’s calls. He, however, tweeted in the morning saying: “There has been no discussion with the BJP on cabinet portfolios, how many and which ones (will be allotted), but it will happen soon.”

The BJP currently has 106 MLAs and the support of 7 others, making its total 113. With help from 39 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, and their 10 independents, the party will comfortably go past the halfway mark of 144.

On Wednesday night, soon after Thackeray’s resignation, BJP State President Chandrakant Patil told the media that Fadnavis and Shinde would decide the next steps.

He even advised the rebel Sena MLAs, who are currently in Goa, to come to Mumbai for the oath-taking.

Fadnavis also told reporters: “You will come to know everything by tomorrow.”

Also read: Maharashtra Governor orders assembly session for MVA trust vote, Shiv Sena likely to move SC


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