Fadnavis meets Shah as Pawar-Sonia all set to take call on Sena

New Delhi/Mumbai (IANS) Amid continuing stalemate over government formation in Maharashtra, BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Devendra Fadnavis on Monday met BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi.

The meeting took place at a time when the BJP is said to have actively opened back channel talks with NCP and simultaneously procured unofficial support of five Independent and 1 MLA from a smaller party.

The Chief Minister's Office in Maharashtra, however, insisted the meeting was not between a top BJP leader and the BJP President, but between the Chief Minister and the Union Home Minister.

According to Maharashtra CMO, the meeting is to draw attention of Shah to the farmers' woes in the state due to unseasonal rain. Fadnavis's office insisted it was a meeting to extract a relief package for the farmers of Maharashtra from Shah, who is also the Union Home Minister.

This meeting between Shah and Fadnavis comes in the backdrop of Shiv Sena's CM aspirant Aditya Thackeray visit to areas like Kudal in Sindhudurg district to interact with farmers.

The Thackeray junior promised to be with the farmers whose crops were hit by unseasonal rains.

But the Shah-Fadnavis meeting's political significance cannot be ignored as it comes on a day when NCP chief Sharad Pawar is in the national capital as well and slated to meet interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi at 5 p.m.

The two allies are expected to clarify their stand after the meeting whether to support the Shiv Sena, which is unhappy with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its ally. The Sena, meanwhile has been bragging about the numbers, all through Sunday.

The BJP and Sena which fought the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly election together have individually 105 and 56 MLAs, respectively. Together they are well above the magic figure of 145 but Sena has been adamant on a 50-50 agreement and sharing of Chief Minister's post, while BJP's Fadnavis has rubbished both.

Both BJP and Sena have been trying to garner numbers on their own. While, back channel talks were opened by BJP with NCP through one former Union Minister of Pawar's party, Sena's Sanjay Raut too had met the NCP Supremo.

Moreover, the Sena is expected to meet the Maharashtra Governor on Monday and request him to invite the single largest party to form the government. BJP is the single largest party with 105 MLAs. This move by Sena is to unravel BJP's strategy.

As the Chief Minister of Maharashtra who is calling all the shots in the state on behalf of BJP and its National President meets behind closed doors amid such politically volatile situation, it is widely believed is more than seeking "relief" for "Maharashtra farmers".

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