The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) quickly jumped into the fast-paced political developments in Maharashtra on Sunday evening after the BJP dropped its claim to form the government in the state and the Shiv Sena was invited to do so.
However, the NCP laid down its condition to support the Sena and its leader Nawab Malik said the Uddhav Thackeray-led party should first walk out of the central National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if it wants their support.
“If the Shiv Sena wants to have our support, they need to break ties with the NDA. They need to dissociate from the BJP. Their minister at the central government (Arvind Sawant) should resign,” Nawab Malik said.
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Malik’s comments came just after Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the Sena to form the government after the BJP pulled out of the race, saying its alliance partner was not willing to cooperate.
The BJP and the Sena have been involved in a power tussle over the government formation in the state since the results to the 288-member assembly were declared on October 24.
The Sena had insisted on rotating the chief minister’s post, saying that the two parties agreed to it before the April-May national elections as part of a “50-50” power-sharing agreement. Fadnavis maintained that no “50-50 formula” had been agreed to.
He resigned as the Maharashtra chief minister on Friday amid a war of words between the BJP and the Shiv Sena before the term of the last assembly ended without a new government in place on Friday.
The BJP has 105 legislators and the support of 15 Independents. Shiv Sena, the BJP oldest and pre-poll ally, has 56 seats, the NCP 54 and Congress 44.