Mahayuti will soon form government in Maharashtra, says Devendra Fadnavis

MUMBAI : THE BJP on Wednesday elected Devendra Fadnavis as its state legislative party leader, with the incumbent chief minister asserting that his party and ally Shiv Sena will soon form the government in Maharashtra.

In his first formal address to the party members after the October 21 elections, Fadnavis said, “The BJP-Shiv Sena will form the government together. There should be no doubt about the coalition government in anybody’s mind… The mandate of voters of Maharashtra is for Mahayuti (BJP-Sena grand alliance). Hence, the ‘Mahayuti’ is going to form its government soon in the state.”

The remarks came amid Sena’s demand for an equal share of power, including the chief minister’s post. Fadnavis (49) dubbed the rumours of ‘alternative formulae’ being worked out to form the government as “entertainment”.

“There are rumours doing the rounds about alternative formulae. But these are just for entertainment. Don’t believe in such rumours,” he said.

Urging party workers not to go on backfoot for the BJP failing to win half of the 288 Assembly seats on its own, Fadnavis said: “The party winning 105 seats is a huge achievement. After 1995, no political party had won more than 75 seats in Maharashtra. But we have won 122 seats in 2014 and 105 this time.” He added that the huge mandate has brought new challenges and greater responsibilities. He reiterated his pledge to make Maharashtra drought-free in the next five years.

Fadnavis went on to express his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah and state leaders for reposing faith in his leadership. Earlier in the day, BJP state president Chandrakant Patil moved the motion to elect Fadnavis as leader of the House at Vidhan Bhavan’s Central Hall. The motion was seconded by leaders including Sudhir Mungantiwar, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Ganesh Naik and Mangal Prabhat Lodha. Sources in BJP said that the alliance with Sena would be formalised on a “reasonable” power-sharing formula in a couple of days.

Talks on government formation in Maharashtra had failed to take off Tuesday after Fadnavis rejected Sena’s claims that the two partners had a pre-poll understanding regarding a 50-50 formula of sharing power and rotating the post of the CM if returned to power. The Sena had hit back, calling off talks scheduled on Tuesday and circulating an old video clip to remind Fadnavis and the BJP that they are “going back on their word”.