Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan Resigns

chavan_1647896fNEW DELHI : The Congress’ Prithviraj Chavan has resigned as Maharashtra chief minister after his government was reduced to a minority with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) withdrawing support last evening. President’s Rule is expected to be imposed in the state, where elections will be held in less than three weeks.
The Congress-NCP alliance ruled Maharashtra for the last 15 years. The NCP announced yesterday that it was breaking the partnership over seat sharing for the October 15 assembly elections. It pulled out its 62 MLAs from the Congress-led government of Mr Chavan, whose party had 82 legislators.
The Congress has already announced a list of 118 candidates – a move that the NCP claims precipitated the end of their partnership, since it was done without consultation. Earlier today, the BJP met Maharashtra Governor CV Rao and urged him to impose President’s Rule in the state as the Congress government was in a minority after the NCP pulled out.For the first time in decades, Maharashtra will see a four-cornered contest with the BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party contesting separately.
About an hour before the NCP announced its split with the Congress, the BJP ended its 25-year-old alliance with the Shiv Sena.The BJP today announced its “Mission 145” to rival its former ally’s “Mission 150”, which means the party wants to win at least 145 of the 288 seats in Maharashtra and “form government on our own strength.”Sources said the BJP will contest about 250 seats and leave the rest for its smaller allies.
“Sena couldn’t come down under 151 and we couldn’t come under 130. It was impossible for us to not give smaller parties their due,” said the BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy.An unattached BJP has dismissed all speculation that it could look at a new partnership with NCP. “Question doesn’t arise… reckless argument… we have nothing to do whatsoever with any of these political groups,” Mr Rudy said.The Sharad Pawar-led NCP has also denied the Congress’ allegation that it is cosying up to the BJP. “We will fight independently in the coming assembly elections. We will also try to bring in like-minded and secular parties together,” said NCP’s Praful Patel.The Shiv Sena has lashed out at the BJP for dumping it.
“Our other alliance parties wanted the Sena-BJP combine to continue. More than that, it was what the 11 crore people of Maharashtra wanted. Those who trampled these sentiments are enemies of Maharashtra,” the party said in its newspaper Saamna.The Shiv Sena wants the chief minister’s post for its chief Uddhav Thackeray, one of the conditions that the BJP had efused to accept. Uddhav Thackeray will not contest the state elections. Neither will his son Aditya who made his political debut negotiating with the BJP this time. Aditya is underage at 24.
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