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IMAGE: Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, flanked by Jayant Patil and Chhaggan Bhujbal, at a meeting at the NCP office in Mumbai. On the right is hriniwas Patil, the newly elected NCP MP from Satara. Photograph: PTI Photo
“Why didn‘t Fadnavis stake a claim before the governor that the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) will be forming the next government and resigned instead?” senior Nationalist Congress Party leader and party spokesperson Nawab Malik asked ‘s Prasanna D Zore, taking a jibe at caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis‘s claim that the BJP would form the next government in the state.
Fadnavis, who earlier to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari made the claim at a press conference he addressed soon after the resignation.
The governor has asked Fadnavis to look after the state‘s day-to-day administration till the next government takes form in the state.
Malik rejected the proposal that the BJP and NCP would come together to form the next government even if the legislative arithmetic works in their favour.
The BJP with 105 MLAs emerged as the largest single party in the state with the Shiv Sena winning 56 seats, the NCP at 54 and the Congress at 44.
“There is no question of joining hands with the BJP. Sharad Pawar has already clarified that we want to keep the BJP out of power in Maharashtra,” Malik said.
Malik alleged that Fadnavis‘s claim of the BJP forming the next government in Maharashtra was proof that the party will indulge in the politics of defections and horse trading. “We will not let that happen,” he declared.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar claimed that the BJP had communicated with three-four party MLAs and offered between Rs 25 crore and Rs 50 crore to help form the next government.
“Let us see what happens next,” Malik said when asked about the meeting between Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut and Pawar at the NCP president‘s home in south Mumbai.
Raut, the Sena‘s outspoken Rajya Sabha MP and editor of the party newspaper Samnaa, has been at the root of the ongoing one-upmanship between the BJP and Shiv Sena, Fadnavis said during his press conference even as the Sena leader was meeting Pawar close.
Malik insisted that the NCP would take a decision (whether to form a government with the Shiv Sena) only after they get Congress, its alliance partner, on board.
“The NCP alone will not take any unilateral decision (about forming the next government with the Shiv Sena),” he said.
“Pawarsaheb has already clarified that the NCP and Congress will together take a decision on this issue,” he said.
Malik did not deny that the Shiv Sena-NCP coming together is an alternative.
“Congress leaders are in talks with their high command and once they clarify their stand only then can we decide on the alternative,” he added.
Malik said the NCP will strive to work out an alternative arrangement in the state and that would be better than having President‘s rule.
“We don‘t want BJP to rule Maharashtra and for that we will work together with the Congress and decide upon the next step.”