The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday said it will not form the government in Maharashtra, saying they don't have the required numbers.
The development comes a day after Maharashtra Governor invited the BJP to form the government.
Caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met the state Governor and informed him that his party won't stake claim to form the government.
The BJP held two back-to-back core group meetings on Sunday to decide on the government formation. The first meeting ended inconclusively.
BJP's state unit chief, Chandrakant Patil said: "We do not have the numbers to form the government."
The BJP said Shiv Sena is free to tie up with NCP and Congress to form the government in the state.
"Good luck to the Shiv Sena if it wants to form government in Maharashtra with the support of the Congress and NCP," Patil said.
He said the Shiv Sena has disrespected the mandate given by the people of Maharashtra.
Even after more than a fortnight, the BJP and Shiv Sena are yet to resolve the tussle over the power-sharing. The assembly term has ended, yet no consensus has been built among the major players over the government formation.
Earlier today, as the BJP core group huddled to discuss the government formation, its warring ally Shiv Sena taunted it and sent 'best wishes', saying they are confident the BJP would do its best "to buy MLAs ahead of the test of strength in the assembly."
To ensure none of their MLAs is poached by the BJP, the Shiv Sena and the Congress have moved their MLAs to different hotels.
Shiv Sena has been demanding an equal share of power in the government that entails the rotation of CM post. The BJP has consistently refused to share the CM post, further widening the rift.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday said his party would declare its next strategy once no one else is able to form government in Maharashtra, and asserted that politics was not a trade for his party.
Without taking name of any individual or party, he said the bubble of being "invincible" has burst and the arrogance of "buying" a politician to form the government will no longer work in the state.
The Shiv Sena "will step in" if no one forms government, Raut said.
The prolonged stalemate seems to have brought a dormant Congress into action as senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday met the party's newly-elected MLAs from Maharashtra, who are currently staying at a resort in Jaipur, to discuss the political situation in the state.
Kharge, who is the All India Congress Committee's (AICC) generally secretary, met the legislators informally to ascertain their views on what stand the party should take about government formation in Maharashtra, senior congress leader Manikrao Thakare told PTI.
"Kharge will then convey the sentiments of the legislators to the party leadership," Thakare said.
Even Congress leader Milind Deora said that the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari should now invite the second largest alliance of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress to form the government in Maharashtra as the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has refused to do so.
"Maharashtra's Governor should invite NCP-Congress - the second largest alliance - to form the government now that BJP-Shiv Sena has refused to do so," Deora's tweet read.
The BJP has won 105 seats while the Shiv Sena bagged 56 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly. The Congress (44) and NCP (54) are well short of the 145-mark to form government in the centre.
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