Maharashtra deal stitched; Shiv Sena, NCP, Congress to meet governor by weekend

Congress President Sonia Gandhi appears to have come around and finally given the green signal to the coalition with Shiv Sena and NCP for government formation in Maharashtra. Prithiviraj Chauhan added ballast by saying that they hope to form the ...

Shiv Sena strategist Sanjay Raut
NEW DELHI: NCP and Congress on Wednesday night formally announced their decision to join hands with the Shiv Sena to form a stable government in India’s financial capital. The trio will parade around 170 MLAs before governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari by the weekend to stake claim. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is the party’s chief ministerial choice. Sena is keen on a full term for him, with NCP still insisting on 2.5-year rotational CM. Soon after NCP-Congress announcement, Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut said ‘Maharashtra wants Uddhav Thackeray as CM’.

The newly elected MLAs belonging to the three parties have been asked to assemble in Mumbai with their identity cards and certificates of election issued by the Election Commission. The decision to form a ‘stable government’ in Maharashtra with Sena was announced after top AICC representatives led by Ahmed Patel and senior Maharashtra Congress leaders held discussions with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his colleagues at his residence in New Delhi to give a final nod to the common minimum programme.

The CMP will be devoid of any contentious planks of Sena to politically hard-sell the JV which has been built over ideological fault lines of Sena and NCPCongress. Sources said the ‘goahead’ for the anti-BJP re-alignment was given when Pawar met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. What is being done now is formal inking of the pact. Raut also held separate meetings with Pawar and some Congress representatives. As per the portfolio-sharing talks, NCP is expected to retain plum portfolios while Congress is likely to get many ministries.

EThad reported in its November 5 edition ‘NCP-Congress Ready To Play Ball If Uddhav Thackeray Crosses The Rubicon’. In its November 14 edition ET reported ‘Shiv Sena, NCP Ask Congress To Join Govt to Make Anti-BJP Axis Stable’ and ‘Sanjay Raut says Thackeray will be the ideal CM’.

After the NCPCongress meeting, Prithviraj Chavan said: “We had a creative discussions and Maharashtra will soon have a stable government... The remaining few issues will be sorted out by Thursday.” NCP’s Nawab Malik said: “Issues of Maharashtra, especially farmer’s problem, need to be addressed by a stable government and such a government is not possible without NCP-Congress and Sena.”

Incidentally, Pawar’s meeting with PM Modi in Parliament office on Wednesday afternoon — to ostensibly discuss farmers’ issues in Maharashtra and to invite PM to a function — saw several news channels and social media handles calling it a ‘jolt to the anti-BJP deal making’. There were indications that Pawar told Modi about the imminent coming together of the three parties in Maharashtra, although he refused to comment.
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