If BJP fails floor test, NCP says it will make bid for govt formation

PUNE : The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party on Wednesday indicated that it was ready to make a bid for power if the BJP failed to pass the floor test.  “The BJP has emerged as the single largest party. It should stake claim for government formation and prove its majority. If it fails to prove its majority, then NCP will make the bid for power,” said NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik.

Malik first made the comment in the morning and then reiterated it after an NCP meeting to elect its legislature party leader in Mumbai in the evening. Though Sharad Pawar did not raise the issue of government formation, Malik said his comments should be taken as the party’s official position. “Pawar saheb did not raise the issue of government formation at our meeting, but I have made the party’s position clear…” he said. At the meeting, Ajit Pawar also did not raise the issue of government formation.

On Saturday, after a meeting with Congress State chief Balasaheb Thorat in Baramati, Sharad Pawar had said voters had given the NCP and Congress a mandate to sit in the Opposition.

Alluding to these remarks, Malik said Pawar has made the party’s position clear. “But in case things don’t work out between BJP and Shiv Sena, we are ready to make the bid for government formation. The Shiv Sena first has to take a decision. It has to show its strength,” he said.

Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, too, has been saying that Congress and NCP might make a bid for power with the help of other parties. Without naming the Shiv Sena, Chavan said the Congress will have no problem joining hands with the party. Chavan said if a proposal for alliance comes from the Sena, he will discuss it with the Congress leadership.

The NCP has won 54 seats, Congress 44 and the Shiv Sena 56, which adds up to 154. The Maharashtra House has 288 MLAs and 144 MLAs are required for a simple majority. The NCP, which initially did not seem to be keen to make a bid for power, seems to have become active as the sparring match between BJP and Shiv Sena intensified over the past three-four days.

First, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut criticised the BJP in his column. Raut had also posted a cartoon which showed a tiger (Shiv Sena’s party symbol) wearing a clock locket (NCP symbol) sniffing a lotus (BJP symbol).

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had then said that no formula of sharing the chief minister’s post for 2.5 years had been decided by the two parties. After this, the Sena had cancelled formal and informal meetings with the BJP.

Meanwhile, Youth Congress president Satyajit Tambe in a Facebook post has urged Sena youth leader Aaditya Thackeray to grab the opportunity to become the Chief Minister. “In politics, the same situation does not occur again. There is no certainty that this opportunity will emerge again. So, as a friend, I will advise you to get what you want now, don’t rely on anybody,” said Tambe.

Tambe said he had missed the opportunity to become Ahmednagar zilla parishad chief in 2007. He said, “I had won the Ahmednagar zilla parishad election. The Congress had won the majority in zilla parishad. Members backed me to become zilla parishad president, but a section of leaders wanted someone else to become the president. It was then decided that the presidentship should be shared for one-and-a-half years. I demanded that I should get the first opportunity. But because I was just 24, leaders said I can wait…After one-and-a-half years, the one who got presidentship refused to vacate the seat…”