As Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance in Maharashtra takes final shape, it is now becoming clear that the coalition government between the three parties will indeed be headed by Shiv Sena.
NCP leader Nawab Malik today said, "The rift between Shiv Sena and BJP was over the CM post. So we are not going to contest for the CM post. The CM will be from Shiv Sena." Sena, however, has yet not taken a call on whether party chief Uddhav Thackeray will be the CM or will the party nominate someone else for the post. Sena legislature party leader Eknath Shinde is said to be another contender if Uddhav decides to stay out of the government.
The Shiv Sena has apparently sought for a 16-14-12 formula with NCP and Congress, while the grand old party has stressed on a 14-14-14 sharing plan.
The development comes three days after President's rule was imposed in the state after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in a report to the Centre stated that formation of a stable government was impossible in the current situation despite all his efforts, drawing flak from non-BJP parties.
In a fresh development, sources said that Shiv Sena is adamant on chief ministerial post for the party for all five years, while NCP may propose for 50-50 sharing of the position. Talks can take place on this as well, a source said, adding that issues related to common minimum program has been sorted and consensus has been "broadly reached upon".
A source said that Congress does not want to give impression it had gone soft on Sena. Instead it wants to give out a message it was the Uddhav Thackeray-led that approached it.
The source added that between NCP and Congress, the UPA allies want six key ministries, including revenue, urban development and home.
Addressing a press conference in Mumbai on Friday, Sanjay Raut was seen carefully choosing his words while talking on the tussle over CM post. "We want a Sena CM for the next 25 years. Why should we be thinking of just five years? We are here in Maharashtra and we will always be with the state," he said.
Koshyari had on Monday night asked the Sharad Pawar-led NCP to express its "ability and willingness" to stake claim to form government in the state by 8.30 pm on Tuesday. However, the Governor, is his report, noted that the NCP on Tuesday morning conveyed to him that the party needed three more days to gather requisite support.
The governor felt that as already 15 days had passed, he was not in a position to give more time, the officials said. President's Rule can be revoked before the six-month period if a situation emerges for formation of a stable government, the officials said.
In the assembly polls held last month, the BJP won 105 seats, followed by the Shiv Sena (56), the NCP (54) and the Congress (48) in the 288-member House. Despite their alliance getting a majority, the BJP and the Shiv Sen parted ways following disagreement over powersharing with the Sena insisting on the chief minister's post.
An angry Shiv Sena, which was trying to cobble together a non-BJP government with support from the NCP and the Congress, moved the Supreme Court challenging the governor's decision on Monday to not grant it the three days to submit the letter of support for government formation in the state, but failed to get an urgent hearing.
In its petition, the party termed the governor's decision "unconstitutional, unreasonable, discriminatory, capricious and mala fide".