MUMBAI: The day-long negotiations between the leaders of Congress, NCP and the Shiv Sena leaders on Thursday have taken Maharashtra closer to the non-BJP government.
“The draft Common Minimum Program (CMP) has been finalized. It shall be released to media only after approval from the top leadership of all the parties.
Once the top leadership reach consensus, we shall initiate the negotiations on a power-sharing structure which will eventually lead to the process of government formation,” senior Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar told the media after the meeting of Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena leaders here.
“You certainly can say that the Non-BJP Government in Maharashtra is now closer,” he said.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar are scheduled to meet in Delhi on Sunday (November 17) when the draft is likely to be cleared.
Pawar, who began with his Vidarbha visit on Thursday is likely to return to Mumbai on Saturday and will leave for Delhi on Sunday to meet the Congress president, which is also the death anniversary of Balasaheb Thackeray, sources said.
Leaders from all the three parties had two different sets of meetings earlier in the day and came together at Chhagan Bhujbal’s office in Bandra in the evening. At the last meeting of the day, the leaders pondered over the draft “common minimum programme” (CMP).
Shiv Sena leaders Eknath Shinde and Sudhir Desai, NCP’s Jayant Patil, Nawab Malik and Chhagan Bhujbal and Congress’ Manikrao Thakre, Prithviraj Chavan and Vijay Wadettiwar were present at the meeting wherein the draft CMP was finalised.
Unlike the frenzy and buzz in political circles over the past few days, the meetings on Thursday were held in a discrete manner away from the media glare.
At the meetings today the leaders discussed policies as well as aims and objectives in sectors like urban development, infrastructure and farmers’ plight, sources have said.
Though the draft CMP has been agreed to by all the parties, the issues of the Chief Minister’s post and the distribution of other departments between the parties is still a hurdle in the negotiations.
The NCP, meanwhile, has made it clear that it prefers the Shiv Sena candidate for the CM’s post.
“Chief Minister’s post is the reason why Sena broke away from the NDA. Hence, it becomes our duty to honour them and keep their pride.
The CM will be from the Shiv Sena. We haven’t discussed the Deputy CM’s post as yet. Congress doesn’t want to join the government.
They are contemplating on outside support. But, we want them to join the government. In the negotiations distribution of posts hasn’t cropped up as yet. We shall discuss it over the next few days. I don’t think there shall be any room for discord over it,” Malik said in an interview given to a local news channel.
NCP MLA and former state deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Wednesday night told media persons that a scheduled meeting between his party and the Congress was cancelled and that he was going to Baramati, triggering speculations about possible differences between the allies.
However, later NCP chief Sharad Pawar clarified that his nephew Ajit’s remarks were made just to avoid media attention and the meeting took place late in the night.