New Delhi: The lone Shiv Sena member in the Narendra Modi Cabinet, Arvind Sawant, on Monday said he will resign as a union minister, paving the way for his party to seek the support of Sharad Pawar’s NCP and the Congress and form the government in Maharashtra.
The Shiv Sena’s exit from the BJP-led NDA at the Centre was a key condition put forward by the NCP on Sunday to lend support to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party for government formation after the BJP refused to stake claim to power.
Sawant, who was the heavy industries minister, reiterated the Sena’s stand that a 50-50 deal for the chief ministership had been agreed with the BJP before the Lok Sabha election, and said he would not want to stay in Delhi in such a “false environment”, which is why he is resigning.
The Sena, which is the second largest party in the 288-member House with 56 MLAs after the BJP (105), has time till 7:30 PM on November 11, to stake the claim, even as the NCP and the Congress weigh their options on whether to support the party.
While the NCP’s condition of Sena walking out of the NDA has been met, the Congress will decide its stand at a meeting of its lawmakers with senior party leaders in Jaipur.
Sources had earlier said that Sonia Gandhi was hesitant in supporting the Sena since it would go against the party’s secular ethos, a large majority of the party’s 44 MLAs have been pressuring the high command to keep the BJP out of power.
The role of the Congress (44 MLAS) and the NCP (54 MLAs) which have 98 members together, is crucial for the Sena to form the government with its 56 MLAs.
If the Sena decides to form a government with the support of Opposition parties, the collective strength of all the three parties will go up to 154 in the House, nine clear of the halfway mark of 145.
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