Maharashtra picture still hazy as Shiv Sena, BJP stand-off continues

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Mumbai, Oct 20: A day after Maharashtra Assembly polls gave a fractured verdict, major political parties on Monday went into a huddle exploring ways for government formation but the picture remained nebulous with speculation rife about whether it will be an NCP-propped BJP ministry or a coalition regime with Shiv Sena.

The stand-off between former allies BJP and Shiv Sena, whose coming together will obviate the need for an outside support from NCP, continued even after Uddhav Thackeray's phone call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP Chief Amit Shah yesterday to congratulate them on the party's electoral triumph in Maharashtra and Haryana.

The newly elected Shiv Sena MLAs met and authorised party President Uddhav Thackeray to choose their leader in the House but there was no discussion at the meeting on reviving the 25-year-old alliance that fell apart just before the election following failure of seat-sharing talks. "All the newly elected MLAs met Uddhavji today and they unanimously took a decision to give him the right of choosing the legislative party leader," Sena MP Sanjay Raut said after the meeting.

"Today's meet was not about the BJP. Therefore, we haven't discussed BJP at all. A final decision will be taken by Uddhavji and conveyed to the media in due course," he said. Another Sena MP Anil Desai said "no overture" was made to BJP on a reunion and the meeting was called just to authorise Uddhav to select a new legislature party leader.

Om Mathur, BJP's Assembly poll incharge, said the party was "open to all" in its quest for forming government "but there has been no proposal" from Shiv Sena. "In the interest of Maharashtra and for government formation, all doors are open," he said when asked if BJP had accepted NCP's offer of outside support. 


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