Rumour Mill Rife With Speculations Of NCP Getting Closer To BJP As Shiv Sena Holds Firm On DemandsNCP leader Sharad Pawar 

The united colour of confusion that Maharashtra politics has become, seems to be further complicated by the role of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is playing both ways. But, if sources are to be believed, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has got its arithmetic right, regardless of a not so rosy chemistry before the election.

While the world knows about the meeting between NCP stalwart Sharad Pawar and Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday (31 October) evening, very few know that the NCP and BJP too are in touch with each other.

Informed sources suggest, BJP, which is faced with an adamant Shiv Sena that is not budging from its claims of a 50-50 agreement and sharing CM post, is exploring option of staking claim to form Government without the help of Sena and going for a floor test. Given that BJP has only 105 MLAs, 40 short of the majority, the recent opening of talks with NCP, through back channel is to explore options.

One of the major option on the table is that NCP will walk out of the house just ahead of the floor test, bringing down the strength of the 288-member house. NCP has 54 MLAs.

Given that PM Modi hit out at Pawar during campaign for his stand on abrogation of Article 370 and the Enforcement Directorate's role in making Pawar play 'martyr', for NCP to give support to a BJP government may be a tough ask. But abstaining or walking out of the house during floor test will not hurt NCP's image, and benefit BJP.

Earlier, IANS reported that BJP already has support of 6 more MLAs which consist of one MLA from a smaller party and 5 independents. To top that, Barshi MLA Rajendra Raut is also slated to join the BJP.

With NCP walking out, the strength comes down to 234 and the majority mark comes down to 118. With BJP's 105 MLAs and 6 extras and Rajendra Raut, BJP's tally goes up to 112. The BJP is confident, they are well placed to grab 5 more MLAs which is needed to cross the halfway mark.

Also the fact, both Ajit and Sharad Pawar are facing ED heat, this extention of olive branch to the BJP may prove to be a win-win for both. Even in 2014, under similar circumstances, NCP had lent outside support to Fadnavis, in Maharashtra.

So is the game set for BJP? Maharashtra situation continues to remain fluid. But this backdoor talk between BJP and NCP has created a sense of deja vu for both the parties.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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