Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday ruled out any possibility of he returning to Maharashtra to be a part of the next government in the state.
“BJP-Sena will form government together in Maharashtra as per the mandate. I am in Delhi and there is no question of my coming back to Maharashtra. The government will be formed under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis,” Gadkari said.
Gadkari, who was on his way to Nagpur, refuted reports that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat might intervene to resolve the Maharashtra deadlock. “RSS and Mohan Bhagwat Ji have no connection with this [impasse],” he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena had fought the state polls in an alliance but have failed to reach a consensus over sharing the chief minister’s post and distribution of portfolios. The BJP won 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, the Shiv Sena got 56.
Gadkari met senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday setting off speculations . Patel, though, said the meeting with Gadkari was over “farmer issues”.
BJP is supposed to meet governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday to inform him about efforts to form a government. BJP state chief Chandrakant Patil and finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar will meet the governor. Initially, the meet was scheduled to take place in the morning but BJP has now postponed it to the evening.
Sena leader Kishore Tiwari had written a letter to RSS chief Bhagwat on Monday to deputise Gadkari to resolve the stalemate in Maharashtra.
Tiwari, in his letter, asked Bhagwat to intervene and said people were worried about the RSS’ “silence” on the issue. Later, Tiwari said Gadkari will be able to resolve the deadlock in “two hours”.
Gadkari enjoys a good rapport with Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray and was a minister in the Sena-BJP government from 1995 to 1999.
Sena, which has been targeting BJP over the delay in government formation, on Thursday accused its ally of “trying to poach” its MLAs. In an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, Sena alleged that BJP was trying to use “money power” to resolve the Maharashtra deadlock.
Sena leader and executive editor of ‘Saamana’, Sanjay Raut, later clarified that the editorial didn’t mean Sena MLAs are being poached. He said he has been informed that people from other parties are being targeted.