Amidst the stand-off between Shiv Sena and BJP, and with only a day left to reach the deadline of Maharashtra government formation - the former moved its MLAs to a hotel in Mumbai on Thursday. The development happened after reports surfaced that a section of them might break away and join BJP, that has got 105 MLAs.
Ever since the Maharastra Assembly Election results were declared on October 24, Sena and BJP locked horns over the post of Maharashtra Chief Minister. Sena also floated the "50:50 partnership" formula, that includes rotational chief ministership between BJP and them. However, CM Devendra Fadnavis and the BJP leadership rejected it.
Talk of defections became more prominent after BJP scheduled a meeting with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday. Right afterwards, Sena MLAs were seen entering ‘Rangsharda’ hotel, a stone’s throw away from Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray’s home; and they would reportedly stay there for the next couple of days, NDTV reported.
However, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the party MLAs were committed and had no reason to be hidden in a hotel to prevent them from jumping ship. "Our MLAs are firm in their resolve, who are spreading rumours about defection should worry about their MLAs first," he said.
The senior Sena leader further alleged that by delaying the process of government formation, BJP is building a ground for the imposition of President’s rule in the state. Another Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said, "In such situation, it is important for the party MLAs to stay together, and wait for a decision from the party chief."
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said that there is good news, and "Mahayuti" (BJP-Shiv Sena alliance) would come to power, no matter what. If both parties fail to reach a consensus about the chief ministerial post and no government formation happens by tomorrow, President’s rule will be imposed in Maharashtra.