MUMBAI: NCP supremo Sharad Pawar remained non-committal on the Shiv Sena’s demand for the CM post though his party leaders had already said they would support a Sena CM. Pawar, however, completely ruled out the possibility of a mid-term poll in Maharashtra.
“Everything is at an initial stage at the moment. If anyone has asked for the Chief Minister’s post, then we will have to think about it,” the NCP chief said, addressing a press conference at Nagpur on Friday.
Incidentally, his party’s Mumbai president Nawab Malik had, on Thursday, confirmed that the party has agreed to the ex-BJP ally’s demands.
Pawar was bombarded with questions related to the negotiations between his party, Congress and the Shiv Sena. He dodged most of the questions saying he was unaware of the details of the talks being carried out between leaders of the three parties and hadn’t tracked them for a couple of days while touring the rural areas of Vidarbha taking stock of the damage to crops by the unseasonal rains.
“The process (of forming a government) has begun. But the talks are still in the preliminary stage,” Pawar said when asked when he expects the government to be formed.
While explaining the purpose behind forming the government, Pawar said, “We shall ensure that Maharashtra gets a steady, development-oriented government that would be capable of successfully dealing with all the gigantic problems faced by the state.”
“We shall ensure that the government runs for the full five years,” he said while reacting to the probability of mid-term polls in the state.
Asked whether the BJP was holding discussions with the NCP over government formation in the state, the former Union minister said his party was holding talks only with the Sena, Congress and its allies and nobody beyond these.
Asked whether his party will support the Hindutva issue if the Shiv Sena raises it while forming the government, Pawar said, “We are not against Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism. But we are people who insist on secularism when it comes to running a government. I don’t know yet what was the discussion among our allies on this issue.”
State BJP President Chandrakant Patil, meanwhile, claimed that the party has 119 assembly members with it which can’t be ignored while forming a government.
“We reviewed the party’s performance and realised that we are still the top-performing political party in the state with 1.42 crore votes, 105 MLAs, maximum number of SC, ST and women MLAs etc.,” he said adding that at recent meetings, the party chalked out a detailed programme for organizational elections at over 90,000 polling booths in the state.