A final decision on forming a government in the Indian state of Maharashtra is expected by 23 November after its main political parties – Shiv Sena (SS) and National Congress Party (NCP) – indicated an agreement on an administration-sharing arrangement had been reached in principle late Wednesday.
Both parties revealed to the media that there would be another round of discussions on Thursday to firm up the proposed alliance before approaching the governor of the state to formally create a government.
Shiv Sena will have its nominee occupy the chief minister’s chair for the first half of the five-year term, while the NCP nominee will take over the post in the second half i.e. by the middle of 2022, media reports quoted NCP sources as saying on condition of anonymity.
The Congress Party, the third political partner in the proposed alliance, is likely to occupy the deputy chief minister's post for the full five-year term of the state government, they further stated.
Maharashtra is currently under central government rule after elections held in the region on 21 October to elect 288 members to the state assembly threw up a hung verdict, giving none of the contesting political parties an absolute majority in terms of votes.
With none of the political parties able to give an assurance on forming a stable government, the governor of the state recommended President’s Rule (the central government).
On Wednesday, according to media reports, there was a minor hiccup in ongoing negotiations when the Congress Party appeared to insist that the proposed alliance focus on the word “secularism” and that there should be no communal agenda due to the differing ideologies of all three political parties. However, by Thursday morning, the matter appeared to have been resolved.
Former state chief of Maharashtra and Congress Party leader Prithviraj Chavan told media after participating in a marathon meeting with NCP top brass on Wednesday that representatives of all three political parties would be meeting again in Mumbai on Thursday and Friday.
In the October 21 elections in Maharashtra, the then governing BJP-Shiv Sena alliance secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively (161 seats) in the 288-member assembly, but differences over who would occupy the chief minister’s chair and who would be included in the state cabinet led to a collapse of the over decade-and-a-half-old alliance. Pre-poll allies Congress and NCP won 44 and 54 seats respectively.