After days of suspense over reaching out to the Shiv Sena for formation of the next government in Maharashtra, the BJP on Tuesday said it was ready to negotiate as soon as its pre-poll ally sent its proposal. The Opposition has made similar overtures to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) assured the Shiv Sena that it could provide an alternative for government formation if its support was sought. Mr. Pawar met Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Monday.On Tuesday, leaders of the NCP and the Congress met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. The Opposition leaders sought a hike in the relief announced for the rain-affected farmers.Core panel meeting Thirteen days after the results of the Maharashtra Assembly election left the BJP short of a majority, the party’s core committee met to discuss the stalemate. The Shiv Sena has been demanding the implementation of a 50:50 power-sharing formula, which it claims includes sharing of Cabinet portfolios and the post of Chief Minister. “The committee reviewed the current political situation. The people of Maharashtra have voted for a BJP-Sena coalition, and we will give due respect to this mandate,” State party president Chandrakant Patil said after the meeting at the residence of caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.The committee, which includes Girish Mahajan and Sudhir Mungantiwar, is on standby to negotiate with the Sena, but if no proposal comes within two days, the BJP is gearing up for imposition of President’s rule. Senior BJP leader Vinod Tawde met Governor Koshyari after the meeting and apprised him of the party’s position. “We are willing to play a wait and watch game with the Sena,” a senior minister of the BJP said. Mr. Mungantiwar said the party is open to begin talks even in the next 24 hours, and the core committee will meet again on Wednesday to discuss future parleys. “You will soon get the good news on government formation,” he said. The BJP has already forwarded its proposal to the Sena to begin talks on all fronts, except the “non-negotiable” post of the Chief Minister, a source told The Hindu. Late on Tuesday, Mr. Fadnavis flew to Nagpur and met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. RSS functionaries in Nagpur were tight-lipped about what transpired at the meeting, though it is being speculated that the meeting was about the political deadlock in the State.The Sena, whose might in the 288-seat Assembly went up to 64 on Tuesday, after an independent MLA Rajendra Patil Yedavkar declared his support for the party, remained hard to please. “This statement (from the BJP) is a sign of maturity. Had they done this earlier, we would have formed government by now,” said Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut.. “All the Sena is saying is do as was decided, nothing more,” Mr. Raut said.
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