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|October 13, 1999||
Sena gives up, asks BJP to take lead in forming government
In a sudden turn of events, Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray announced his party's decision to drop its plan to stake its claim to form the government in Maharashtra. Instead, it has given its alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party, a free hand to ally with any other political party to give the state a stable government.
The decision came even as the fourth round of talks between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party failed in Bombay tonight.
In a statement issued in Bombay, Thackeray said the Sena would support from outside a BJP government formed with any other political ally and gave the BJP a free hand to appoint any candidate as chief minister and deputy chief minister.
Outgoing Chief Minister Narayan Rane, meanwhile, charged the BJP with not co-operating in the formation of the government because it wanted its own candidate to be chief minister.
He, however, said the Sena-BJP alliance was intact and the Sena would not try to bring down a BJP-led government.
On the other hand, Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde was quoted by the BJP spokesman as saying that the party had accepted Rane's candidature for the post of chief minister and there were no cracks in the alliance.
Elsewhere, the fourth round of talks between the NCP and the Congress failed owing to what state NCP chief Chhagan Bhujbal called "the adamant attitude" of the Congress.
Bhujbal said, "The Congress wants the chief minister to be from their party, along with key portfolios, and is demanding the chairmanship of major corporations in the state."
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Pratap Bhosale, however, said they are still hopeful of forming a secular coalition government in the state and hoped an amicable solution would be reached with the NCP.
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