Mumbai, A psychological tug-of-war is currently underway between the prospective allies, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena, to woo the 13 elected Independents, including a few rebels, in order to boost their respective bargaining power before the nitty-gritty of government formation gets underway.
While some BJP office-bearers claimed to have secured the support of “all the Independents”, boosting their effective strength to 118, compared to 122 in 2014, the Shiv Sena has also claimed that two Independents have so far extended their support to it and efforts were on to get more.
In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, the half-way mark is 144, which no party can achieve even if they get the support of all the 13 Independent MLAs.
Presently, the BJP has secured the support of two independents, including Ravi Rana (Badnera), who had supported the government earlier.
The Sena has also got support from at least two independents – Ashish N. Jaiswal (Ramtek), and Narendra B. Bhondekar (Bhandara).
Both parties claim they are in touch with “many more independents” and are confident of bagging their endorsement, though according to the current arithmetic of election results, Independents do not hold the key to government formation...