By Rahil Nora Chopra
Since the Assembly poll verdict, it has been 14 days and no headway made towards government formation in Maharashtra. Now, senior and influential leaders of BJP have started pressuring the central leadership to hasten government formation and in doing so, also criticizing and blaming Devendra Fadnavis for the impasse. According to sources, in the wake of this conundrum, Devendra Fadnavis has send an emissary to Uddhav Thackeray residence’s with the BJP’s latest offer. In response, Thackeray has conveyed his willingness to hold a meeting with Fadnavis to take things forward. This meeting between the two might take place any time. Initially, the BJP had indicated that party was willing to offer 13 to 15 ministerial berth and the deputy chief minister’s post to Shiv Sena, retaining 27 to 29 berths for itself and smaller allies. Fadnavis also agreed to offer additional plump portfolios to Shiv Sena, but Sena has been pressuring on for a 50-50 share in the government. According to Shiv Sena sources, Uddhav has demanded additional ministerial berths — one in the Union Cabinet and one MoS post — in the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, along with the governorship for Shiv Sena veteran leaders in two states. Uddhav has also pressed for 50-50 share in state-run corporation. Now it all depends on the outcome of the meeting between Uddhav and Fadnavis. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MLAs on Thursday passed a resolution authorising party chief Uddhav Thackeray to take a final decision on government formation in Maharashtra. After the meeting of the Sena MLAs at Thackeray’s residence Matoshree, all legislators went to Rangsharda Hotel, close to the party chief’s home in suburban Bandra, where they have been shifted to amid the ongoing uncertainty over government formation and growing fear of switching sides.
YEDIYURAPPA PINS HOPE ON KARNATAKA BY-POLLS IN ASSEMBLY SEATS
The future of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and the BJP government will depend upon the result of the by-poll election for 15 assembly constituencies to be held on 5 December. These 15 seats have been vacated due to rebellion of Congress and JD(S) MLAs who left their parties to clear the way for the formation of BJP government. Yediyurappa has declared that he has full support of BJP president Amit Shah to give BJP tickets in the by-poll to all the rebels who had helped him to form the government in Karnataka, but several BJP leaders, including a group allied with the party’s central leadership and BJP organising secretary BL Santosh, are reportedly opposing the decision of fielding the rebels as BJP candidates. The BJP needs to win at least half of the seats to remain in the power. Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has met the governor Vajubhai Vala and demanded dismissal of the Yediyurappa government, claiming that the rebels did not quit on their own but were lured by the BJP to defect.
RAJASTHAN BY-POLL RESULTS EMBOLDEN CM GEHLOT
The results of two assembly by-polls in Rajasthan has once again boosted the morale of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his government. BJP has lost the Mandawa assembly seat in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan to Congress’s Rita Choudhary, even though its alliance partner RLP has retained Khinwsar assembly constituency in Nagaur. After Hanuman Beniwal won the parliamentary seat, he resigned from Khinwsar assembly constituency, and in this by-election he had given his seat to his brother, Narayan Beniwal. BJP-RLP fought this by-election in alliance and Narayan Beniwal has defeated Congress leader Harendra Mirdha by a margin of 4540 votes in the Jat-dominated seat. After the election, Ashok Gehlot has become even stronger in the assembly. On the other hand, the alliance between BJP-RLP has been broken off for the coming local body election, as declared by BJP state president Satish Punia after Hanuman Beniwal blamed Vasundhra Raje for the defeat of the BJP candidate and a small margin win by his brother.
NOW, NITISH KUMAR WANTS SHARE IN UNION CABINET
After the results of assembly election in Haryana and Maharashtra, we saw the unexpectedly rapid formation of government in Haryana, with BJP and JJP teaming up, while the demand of 50-50 share in the government by the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra has kept the Sena-BJP alliance in limbo in the state. Now, adding fuel to the fire of BJP’s alliance worries, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has started demanding his party’s share in the central government on the basis of his party’s strength in Lok Sabha. In the beginning when the central government was formed, Nitish Kumar refused to join the Cabinet as Narendra Modi had offered JD(U) only one ministerial post. However, according to JD(U) sources, Nitish has not only given a deputy Chief Ministership but also several msinisterial berth to ally BJP in the Bihar government. It seems that Nitish Kumar has demanded for participation in the central government in the party conference held recently in Delhi only to increase pressure on the BJP. However, fact remains that the BJP has more than 300 seats in Lok Sabha and has no need of support for other parties in the Lok Sabha to sustain a majority government. In fact, it is Nitish who needs the support of BJP for his government in Bihar. The sentiments shown by Nitish Kumar in his conference it seems solely to build pressure on the BJP for the next assembly election due in 2020.
JATS KEEP TAB ON KHATTAR’S SOON-TO-FORM HARYANA CABINET
After the oath-taking by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, now the Haryana CM is set to declare his cabinet. Observers are an keeping an eye out for the number of Jat MLAs who will be included in the Haryana Cabinet. In the last Khattar government, there were two Jat cabinet ministers, but this time, both the Jat ministers — Captain Abhimanyu and Om Prakash Dhankar — have lost the election. Although BJP had given 20 seats to Jat candidates, only 5 of them could win elections. On the other hand, Dushyant Chautala, the Deputy Chief Minister, belongs to the Jat community, and his JJP is a party that has in its mandate to serve Jat aspirations and address Jat grievances on the work front. BJP has definitely given positive signals to the Jat community, and one of the Jat candidates of the five who have won on BJP tickets — Mahipal Dhanda, Kamlesh Dhanda, JP Dalal, Praveen Dagar and Nirmal Rani — will certainly become a Minister. Mahipal Dhanda is the only candidate who has won twice. Meanwhile, there are few Jat MLAs who have won as independent rebel candidates against the BJP. In addition, Kavita Jain lost the election, so Nirmal Rani can be included as a woman and Jat Minister. (IPA)