Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today refused to comment on Maharashtra's political fate, saying that he would rather not hazard a guess at something that's as unpredictable as cricket. "Anything can happen in cricket and politics. Sometimes you feel you are losing the match, but the result is exactly the opposite," he said, before issuing a disclaimer that he relates more to politics in Delhi than Maharashtra.
Mr Gadkari made the comment at a press conference soon after his arrival in Maharashtra, which was placed under President's Rule on Tuesday after a dispute between the BJP and Shiv Sena for the chief ministerial post gave rise to a drastic realignment in the state's political structure. The Shiv Sena is now trying to forge a tie-up with the Congress and Sharad Pawar's NCP in an attempt to keep the BJP at bay.
However, the Union Minister dismissed concerns that the establishment of a non-BJP government administration would affect projects launched by the Devendra Fadnavis administration. "I feel there will be no difference. In our democracy, governments change but projects continue without any problem. No matter which government comes now, it will take ahead positive policies and development projects that have already been launched," he said.
Mr Gadkari, however, refused to predict which party would come to power in the end. "This is an appropriate question to the wrong person," he said with a smile, adding that those planning to form the government would be in a better position to speak on the matter.
The Union Minister's comparison between politics and cricket holds just as true for the Congress-NCP as any other political entity. While the alliance did not stand any chance of forming the government after the Maharashtra elections, considering that they won a total of just 98 seats, the dispute between the BJP and the Shiv Sena has given them a realistic shot at taking over the state again.
Earlier today, leaders of the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena held meetings in Mumbai to formulate a "common minimum programme" that could help them rise above ideological differences to form a coalition government. A draft of the document will have to be approved by top leaders of the three parties before being finalised, a senior Congress leader told news agency PTI.
According to sources, the three parties have decided to form a joint government with the Shiv Sena and the NCP sharing the chief minister's post on a rotational basis. The Congress, the junior-most member of the alliance in terms of seats, has reportedly demanded the Deputy Chief Minister's position for all five years.
(With inputs from PTI)