Shiv Sena leaders Aaditya Thackeray and Eknath Shinde along with party leaders address a press conference after meeting Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari in Mumbai on Monday. (PTI)
Congress, NCP play cat-and-mouse with Sena; red-faced Aditya dilly-dallys on facts
Aaditya Thackeray said that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari refused to grant more time to the Sena to muster numbers.
Uddhav Thackeray met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at suburban hotel in Mumbai. He also called up Sonia Gandhi for support.
Our Correspondent :
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI :
Maharashtra’s political scenario got the messiest Monday evening as Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari refused to give Shiv Sena any extension of time beyond 7.30 pm as the belligerent party failed to notch up numbers when Congress and Nationalist Congress Party refused to give formal letters of support to its bid to form the Government. As the next option, the Governor, then, offered the third largest party in Maharashtra Legislature -- the Nationalist Congress Party -- to convey its willingness to form Government, again giving it the leash of only 24 hours, which would end on Tuesday evening. These developments only thickened the dark political plot on the legislative stage that was made chaotic by the obstinacy of Shiv Sena that it would associate only with those who would agree for its person to be the Chief Minister.
The worst part of the deteriorating political situation was that even the the so-called pre-poll alliance between Congress and NCP seemed to be tottering as both the parties were still indecisive about the future course of action, Sources indicated that both the parties would hold crucial meetings on Tuesday morning to make the final arrangement about the subsequent steps. Since two different locales -- Mumbai and New Delhi -- might make communication difficult, the Congress party may end its Core Committee meet in the national capital rather in a hurry and send critical functionaries like Mallikarjun Kharge and Venugopal to Mumbai to continue with confabulations with the NCP brass led by none other than the octagenerian Sharad Pawar.
Even as the Congress-NCP got engaged in the number-notching games, Bharatiya Janata Party’s leader Sudhir Mungantiwar stated that his party was in a wait-and-watch mode. Constitutional experts, however, felt that the indecision-filled situation may lead to the Governor recommend imposition of President’s Rule in the State caught up in an unprecedented political mess. The focus of the scene shifted to New Delhi Monday morning as Uddhav Thackeray spoke on phone with Congress Working President Sonia Gandhi urging her to extend him support in Government formation. Playing a smart game under the cover of detailed discussions, the Congress Working Committee chose to bide for time even when Shiv Sena grasped for breath.
A more or less similar stance emerged from the NCP camp as well when the party opted to think deeply about the mode of support it could lend to Shiv Sena. These two positions made Shiv Sena appear askance at being almost ditched on the earlier promises of support. As the situation got murkier, Sena’s young leader Aaditya Thackeray appeared on the scene, as if replacement of the talkative Sanjay Raut who was hospitalised during the day with a reported cardiac discomfort. Later, Raut also underwent angioplasty. In a bid to appear brave, Aaditya Thackeray almost blamed the Governor saying that he did not grant the party enough time to prove its numbers, almost unbothered about how pathetic his statement sounded. Sources said top leaders of the Congress party’s core group will meet at the residence of Party President Sonia Gandhi at 10 am on Tuesday to discuss the issue. “The Congress President has spoken to Sharad Pawarji. The party will have further discussions with the NCP,” a statement issued by Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal said after the second meeting of Congress leaders.
After two crucial meetings, the top leaders of the party preferred to have a detailed discussions with the NCP on the political impasse in the State. “The Congress Working Committee met this morning and held a detailed discussion on the situation in Maharashtra after which a consultation was held with Maharashtra Congress leaders,” the statement further said. “No letter of support has been given to the Shiv Sena over Government formation. The Congress has not taken any decision on supporting the Shiv Sena on Government formation,” Venugopal told PTI. Asked about the telephonic conversation between Sonia Gandhi and Thackeray, he said it was a “courtesy call” and only pleasantries were exchanged but no commitment was made. After the second meeting with Maharashtra Congress leaders, the party decided to defer its decision again till further talks with NCP leaders.
BJP in ‘wait & watch’ mode
THE Bharatiya Janata Party, which has opted out of race for Government formation in Maharashtra, has adopted a ‘wait and watch’ policy in the State which saw hectic activity in camps of major non-BJP parties on Monday. A day after the BJP said it was not in a position to form Government due to lack of numbers, the Shiv Sena claimed the NCP and Congress have agreed “in-principle” to support its Government, but failed to get letters of support from the political rivals before the deadline set by the Governor. Leaders of the Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP held separate meetings in Mumbai and New Delhi to discuss the political impasse in the State which Assembly poll results were announced on October 24. A meeting of the State BJP’s core committee was held to discuss the current political situation. Speaking to reporters late Monday evening after the meeting, BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said, “We have decided to adopt a wait and watch policy on the current political situation.
“The BJP core committee has been closely watching the political developments here in Maharashtra. The meeting of the core committee is over and we will take the right decision,” he said without elaborating. Sena leader Raut undergoes angioplasty at Mumbai hospital: FIREBRAND Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut underwent angioplasty at the Lilavati Hospital here on Monday evening, hours after he complained of chest pain, said his brother and hospital officials. Sanjay Raut (57), who led the Sena’s charge to seek equal share in power with the BJP post-Assembly election results in Maharashtra, visited the private hospital in suburban Bandra on Monday afternoon for routine check-up.
“Raut first underwent angiography where two blocks in the heart were detected. Angioplasty is being carried out and his health is stable,” the Rajya Sabha MP’s brother Sunil Raut said. “We are waiting for doctor’s report,” he said. Angiography is an imaging test that uses X-rays to view a person’s blood vessels. Angioplasty is a procedure to restore blood flow through the artery. Earlier in the day, a hospital official said, “Raut came to the hospital following slight chest pain.”
“Raut came to the hospital two days back also for a routine check-up. An ECG (electrocardiogram test) was then done followed by some check-ups. Based on the ECG report, doctors advised him to come to the hospital today (Monday) for further tests,” the official said. Sanjay Raut, executive editor of the Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, became the face of the party’s repeated demand for chief ministership for 2.5 years and 50:50 split in portfolios ever since poll results were announced on October 24.