Devendra Fadnavis to Seek Trust Vote Today, Sena Orders All Legislators to Be Present

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Mumbai, Nov 12:  Devendra Fadnavis will seek a trust vote in the Maharashtra Assembly today that he must win to remain Chief Minister. Hectic politicking is expected before the vote.

The BJP and Shiv Sena are reportedly talking, but have not moved much ahead in their negotiations as, sources said, they disagree over the portfolios that the Sena will get if it joins a BJP-led government in the state.

With things not clear just yet, the Shiv Sena has issued a whip to its 63 legislators, ordering them to be present in the House when Mr Fadnavis seeks a trust vote. If the two parties have a deal by then, the Sena legislators will help Mr Fadnavis, who is 22 short of a majority, sail through.

The Sena has also said that it is prepping to serve as the opposition; it has nominated a leader of opposition and fielded a candidate for Speaker against the BJP. Mr Fadnavis has met both Congress and Sena leaders and requested them to withdraw their candidates for Speaker, sources said.

The BJP has not seemed unduly perturbed about how it will hit the 144 seat halfway mark in the Assembly, which has an effective strength of 287. It claims that apart from its 123, it has the support of nine more legislators - six independents and three from the Hitendra Thakur-led Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi party, some of whom have already handed letters of support.

Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party or NCP reminded the BJP on Monday that his offer of external support to ensure a stable government stands. In the trust vote on Wednesday, his party of 41 legislators does not even have to vote for the BJP. If they abstain, Mr Fadnavis will win.  

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has warned the BJP that there can be no deal on forming the government together if it accepts the NCP's offer. 

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