MUMBAI: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar, his nephew and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other senior leaders and Legislators of the party held a crucial meeting here on Tuesday to discuss the government formation issue.
Prior to the meeting, Ajit Pawar indicated that if the NCP managed to get the magic figure of 145 in the 288-member Assembly, it could form the government, but cautioned: "Have patience".
The party is hoping for the support of the Congress, the Shiv Sena, which broke off from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA, independents and smaller parties.
However, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which has two legislators, has decided against supporting any coalition that includes the Shiv Sena and Congress as the constituents.
Pawar also said that the party was awaiting a formal communication from the Congress before it could finalise its strategy and report to Governor B. S. Koshyari at Raj Bhavan before the 8.30 p.m. deadline on Tuesday.
Since Saturday, politics has moved into high gear after the BJP -- the single largest party with 105 legislators -- expressed its inability to form the government.
On Sunday, the Governor invited the Shiv Sena with 56 legislators to form the government. But, it could not provide the letters of support from the Congress and NCP even as it claimed 'in principle' support from them. The Sena sought more time from the Governor, who, however, declined the request.
Thereafter, late on Monday night, the Governor invited the NCP, the third largest party with 54 legislators to make an attempt to form the government.
Now, all eyes are on the response of the Congress, which is holding a separate meeting of its top leaders in New Delhi, before the government formation logjam can be resolved.