MUMBAI: NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi are likely to meet in Delhi on Sunday to discuss details of government formation in Maharashtra even as their prospective partner, the Shiv Sena, will be busy showing off its strength in Mumbai on the occasion of the seventh death anniversary of its founder Balasaheb Thackeray.
Leaders of the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena were supposed to have a joint meeting with Governor BS Koshyari on Saturday. The Shiv Sena had expressed its desire several times in the past to have its Chief Minister sworn in on the death anniversary of the party’s most charismatic leader. Hence, the meeting was viewed as a show of strength by the three parties who are attempting to cobble together an unlikely alliance and form the government in the state.
However, initially, it was clarified that the meeting had nothing to do with government formation and later it was postponed until an unspecified date and time.
“A joint delegation of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress was to meet Governor BS Koshyari at 4.30 pm today. However, when we realised that the important leaders of all the parties were busy either in their respective constituencies furnishing expenditure details to the election commission or on tour to distant locations to take stock of the damage to crops due to unseasonal rains, the plan for joint meeting was cancelled. We shall seek a fresh appointment with the governor sometime very soon,” Shiv Sena legislative party leader Eknath Shinde said in a statement released here this evening.
The NCP core committee leaders, meanwhile, would huddle at the party chief Sharad Pawar’s Modi Baug residence in Shivajinagar area of Pune on Sunday morning. Pawar is scheduled to reach Delhi post noon and will meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi at around 4.30 pm on Sunday. He is expected to discuss issues relating to government formation in Maharashtra with his party colleagues ahead of his meetings in Delhi, party sources said.
On Saturday morning, political circles were abuzz when turncoat BJP MLA from Maan in Satara district Jaykumar Gore was spotted in the Modi Baug area. However, Gore clarified that he was on a personal visit along with his family and didn’t know that Pawar stays in the area. Pawar too said that he was unaware about Gore visiting Modi Baug.
According to AICC secretary Rajeev Satav, a decision on government formation in Maharashtra will be taken after the Congress party’s meeting of general secretaries, secretaries and state presidents on Saturday.
“Leaders from the Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP have had several meetings and discussions over the past couple of days. State Congress president Balasaheb Thorat will now meet AICC General Secretary in charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge, give a briefing and discuss future strategy. After the meeting, issues relating to the formation of the government in Maharashtra will be deliberated,” Satav told reporters in Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena has prepared for a grand show of strength on Balasaheb Thackeray’s seventh death anniversary on Sunday. Thousands of Shiv Sena workers are expected to come to pay respects at the Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park in Dadar on Sunday. All requisite arrangements have been made, said senior Shiv Sena leader and a minister in the Devendra Fadnavis cabinet for the past five years Diwakar Raote. When asked whether Fadnavis will attend the program, Raote said the party has not invited anybody and anyone who wants to pay respects to Balasaheb can come and do so.
Meanwhile, Governor Koshyari on Saturday announced relief of Rs 8000 per hectare up to 2 hectares for kharif crops and Rs 18000 per hectare up to 2 hectares for horticulture or perennial crops, following damage to crops by unseasonal rains during Oct-Nov. He also announced exemption of land revenue for the affected area and exemption of examination fee of schools and colleges to the wards of farmers whose crops suffered damages. The Governor also directed the state administration to disburse relief immediately, a statement released by Raj Bhavan said here.