The Sena has been desperately waiting for the NCP and Congress to make up their mind.
Mumbai: The Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress may announce an alliance today to form a government in Maharashtra after a series of meetings in Mumbai. All three parties have decided that a Shiv Sena chief minister will have a full five-year term, the Sena’s Sanjay Raut said this morning. It is not certain whether Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will agree to lead the “Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (Maharashtra development front)” government. Uddhav Thackeray has reportedly suggested other names. A common minimum programme that can accommodate the vastly different agendas of the Sena and the Congress will also be discussed as the three parties try to find a way of collaborating for the first time. Setting the stage for intense deliberations, Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray visited Sharad Pawar at his home in Mumbai in a meeting that stretched till midnight.
Here are the top 10 updates on Maharashtra government formation:
- After a go-ahead from chief Sonia Gandhi, the Congress yesterday acknowledged for the first time that it was in talks with the Sena, and declared that the two would meet in Mumbai on Friday. “Our logic to go with the Sena was to end the misrule of the Devendra Fadnavis government. We can’t let Maharashtra suffer,” Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan told NDTV.
- As Sharad Pawar flew back to Mumbai from Delhi last evening, Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray drove down to meet the NCP chief. Sena leader Sanjay Raut and NCP’s Ajit Pawar were also present at the meeting, sources said.
- NDTV has learnt that the common agenda of the new alliance will stress on farmers and jobs and the Shiv Sena’s subsidised food plan.
- The three parties have decided “in principle” to get together but two sticking points remain. The Shiv Sena is not in favour of rotational chief ministership, as the NCP wants. And the Sena, a pro-Hindutva party, is not amenable to including the term “secular” in the common minimum agenda, a demand by the Congress.
- Sena parliamentarian Sanjay Raut said letters of support from the MLAs of all three parties will be handed over to the Governor on Saturday. Sources in the Sena and NCP say “if all goes well, a swearing in ceremony will take place on Sunday or Monday.”
- The Congress’s turnaround on the Sena followed a meeting of the Congress Working Committee at Sonia Gandhi’s home, where leaders argued that the party should try and work with the Sena — a party that has been unabashedly pro-Hindutva and at odds with the Congress’s secular ideology — to keep the BJP out.
- The Sena has been desperately waiting for the NCP and Congress to make up their mind after ending its alliance with the BJP, a partner for over three decades, over a power tussle. The Sena had insisted on rotational chief ministership and an equal share in ministries, which the BJP rejected.
- After sitting on the Shiv Sena’s request for support for more than a week, the Congress met with the NCP on Wednesday, hours after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar fueled intense speculation. The PM-Pawar meeting, alongside PM Modi’s praise for NCP in parliament, was seen to have rattled the Congress.
- Reports that the BJP is pursuing Mr Pawar – his NCP is only two seats behind the Shiv Sena and can help the BJP cross the majority mark in Maharashtra — and that the President’s post has been dangled before the veteran may have also unnerved the Congress.
- Maharashtra was placed under President’s Rule last week after no party could produce letters of support to prove their majority.
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