New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party is weighing two options as it called core committee meeting in Maharashtra - to avail Governor's offer and go to floor test with 105 MLAs or to decline the offer and be ready to sit in opposition in spite of being the single largest party. The BJP is weighing which option will place it in a better position to put Sena in a spot.
Option 1: Floor test & 'appeal of conscience':
After Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited BJP as the single largest party to form a government, it has time to respond till Monday. It is toying with the idea of accepting the offer and going to the floor test with its 105 MLA and 15-20 independents and MLAs from smaller parties who have pledged support. Still, well short of 145, the magic figure, the BJP is exploiting the idea of appealing to all MLAs in the 288-member house to vote according to their "conscience" and in the name of Ram Mandir & abrogation of Article 370.
If the BJP goes ahead with such an appeal, a BJP insider says, it will leave no room for Sena to vote against BJP on the floor test as it will amount to voting against Ram Mandir. It was Udhav Thackeray who had traveled to Ayodhya along with his family in November last year and asked the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce a date for the construction of Ram temple. After this year's election win, Uddhav and his son Aditya Thackeray visited Ayodhya once again and demanded an ordinance. If Sena votes against BJP, even after appeal from BJP in the name of Ram Mandir, if at all, the BJP insider who functions from Maharashtra insists, it will be a "political suicide" for Shiv Sena.
Option 2: Decline offer, sit back & enjoy:
If BJP chooses to decline the offer, Bhagat Singh Koshyari may call the second largest party which is Shiv Sena or the second largest pre-poll alliance which is NCP and Cong. The BJP in that case may take a grandstanding and claim they will prefer to sit in opposition.
But in that case, Sena with its 56 MLAs can't form government, neither can the NCP-Cong alliance which together has 98. Even with the help from independents, the magic figure of 145 cannot be achieved. A non-BJP government can be a possibility only when Sena comes on board with Congress-NCP alliance. For Sena, which has been deeply ingrained in Hindutva politics and anti-Congressism, this will mean a loss of identity. Congress's stated position on Article 370, Universal Civil Code and Triple Talaq will be used by BJP to target Sena.
"I don't know what the party will decide. But these two factors will lead to what the BJP will decide when it replies to the Governor on Monday", said the BJP source.
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