Devendra Fadnavis: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP resigned from his post on Friday as talks with the Shiv Sena to form the next state government under him seem to have hit a wall in the face of the chief ministerial ambitions of Aaditya Thackeray, the leader of the Yuva Sena and Worli MLA. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshayri has accepted Fadnavis’ resignation.

The BJP had won 105 seats, the Shiv Sena got 56 seats and could have formed the government without any fuss had the BJP conceded the chief minister post to the very aggressive Shiv Sena, which played a very hardball to deny Fadnavis his second term. The Congress had claimed 44 seats and its ally the Nationalist Congress Party won 54 seats.

The continuing drama since October 24 when the results came out, has been confounding, to say the least. The Shiv Sena would say it will form the government with the BJP and doing a double-take within a few hours or a day, the longest period taken for switching positions.

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All permutations and combinations seem to have been in play in this election, with the NCP and Congress playing their cards very close to their chest. All this while, tomorrow is the last day for the next Assembly term to come in as the previous one expires.

Whether the Maratha consolidation across the Shiv Sena, the Congress, and the NCP can weave in a new dispensation is to be seen but the Peshwa Brahmin Fadnavis seems to have read the smoke signals for solid intent. He denied that any 50:50 formula had been arrived at.

The gambit here is also by Fadnavis to force the Shiv Sena into action failing which there could be President’s rule imposed. Given the high-voltage drama, it won’t be surprising if the Congress-NCP turns up to support the Shiv Sena after Congress MLAs dashed to Sonia Gandhi to get her approval that such an alliance may help the party in the longer run. One thing seems clear, the Shiv Sena is not in the running to turn into another Janata Dal-United.

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