How can BJP-Sena form govt. amid mutual distrust: Chavan

‘If Sena approaches Cong., party high command will take a call’

October 30, 2019 01:14 am | Updated 01:14 am IST - Pune

Senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan is willing to wait and watch the political developments.

Senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan is willing to wait and watch the political developments.

It was the responsibility of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena to provide a stable government for the people of Maharashtra, senior Congressman and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Tuesday. In the event that the BJP-Sena power-sharing talks fail and the Sena approaches the Congress with a proposal on government formation, it would place the matter before the Congress high command and discuss it with its allies, said Mr. Chavan.

“These are ifs and buts… in case we do receive such a proposal from the Shiv Sena... To the best of my knowledge, no such proposal has come to us,” said the senior Congressman, speaking to reporters in Karad in Satara.

Mr. Chavan said he wondered how the saffron allies could form a government given the mutual distrust between them at the moment. “It appears that there is a major hitch in their government-formation talks. On the one hand, the Sena leadership is talking of a 50:50 power-sharing deal having been settled with [Union Home Minister] Amit Shah. Now, it seems that there is a wide gap between the Sena’s understanding and Chief Minister Fadnavis’ statements that no such secret deal was cut,” he said. “Both parties [Sena and BJP] should hold a press conference to tell the voters of the State what was decided between them in order to end this confusion.”

Mr. Chavan had won a stiff three-way fight in the Karad South Assembly segment and defeated his rival, the BJP’s Atul Bhosale, despite high-decibel campaigns by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Karad and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Satara.

The Leader of Opposition (LoP) would be elected from the NCP in the event the BJP and the Sena succeeded in forming the government, he said. For the first time in the State’s political history, he said, the Congress will not have an LoP from its own ranks.

Mr. Chavan acknowledged that the Congress had fallen short in formulating a clear poll strategy and that it was dogged by leadership crises. Still, he said, people had responded to their campaigns highlighting the BJP’s government’s hollow assurances and severe shortcomings. He also said the Congress-NCP coalition had suffered in at least 25 Assembly segments owing to Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), which queered the pitch for both the opposition parties and again benefited the BJP-Sena alliance.

“We were willing to enter into an alliance with the VBA ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Had we fought together, then not only Mr. Ambedkar, but perhaps six to seven VBA leaders would have been returned as MPs,” Mr. Chavan said. refuting the VBA’s allegations that the Congress had not allowed the party to grow.

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