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Wait for Maharashtra government longer than hoped as tough backroom negotiations continue

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who met Pawar later, claimed a government will be in place soon in Maharashtra.

Published: 19th November 2019 09:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2019 09:38 AM   |  A+A-

NCP chief Sharad Pawar addresses a press conference after a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss government formation in Maharashtra in New Delhi on Monday Nov. 18 2019. | (Photo | Praveen Negi/EPS)

NCP chief Sharad Pawar addresses a press conference after a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss government formation in Maharashtra in New Delhi on Monday Nov. 18 2019. | (Photo | Praveen Negi/EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Amid indications that government formation in Maharashtra may not happen anytime soon, NCP chief Sharad Pawar met Congress president Sonia Gandhi here on Monday. The meeting at 10, Janpath lasted around 50 minutes. 

For the record, Pawar said: “We both agreed that party leaders from both sides will meet to hold further discussions. We will keep an eye on political developments in Maharashtra. Any further decision will be taken after taking our allies into confidence.”

And Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who met Pawar later, claimed a government will be in place soon in Maharashtra.

Raut also said he told the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief that he should lead a delegation of state leaders and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him of the farm distress in Maharashtra due to unseasonal rains.

"Since he (Pawar) was the Union agriculture minister and is also a senior leader, he should lead a delegation of leaders and meet the prime minister to apprise him about the farmers' woes in the country," Raut said.

But sources in the Congress said the process could take much longer as elaborate discussions are needed on equitable distribution of portfolios and drafting of a common minimum programme (CMP), indicating the tough backroom negotiations that are currently on. 

ALSO READ | Maharashtra impasse: NCP, Congress to meet again in two days after Pawar-Sonia meet

The NCP chief parried questions on supporting a Shiv Sena-led government.

“There was no talk on government formation. The meeting was about discussing matters of the NCP and the Congress,” he claimed.

Senior Congress leader A K Antony was present at the meeting Pawar had with Sonia. 

While Pawar recalled that the mandate was for a BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to praise NCP members in the Rajya Sabha for not rushing to the well of the House and maintaining discipline.

Modi’s comments made politicos and hacks wonder what indeed was cooking. 

“Today I want to appreciate two parties, the NCP and the BJD. These parties have wonderfully adhered to parliamentary norms and never ventured into the well. They have made their points very effectively. Much can be learned from these parties,” Modi said.

Athawale formula for BJP-Sena deal

Union minister Ramdas Athawale suggested a new power-sharing model.

“I spoke to Sanjay Rautji about a compromise and suggested a formula of three-year CM post for the BJP and two years for the Shiv Sena. He said the Shiv Sena could think about it if the BJP agrees. I will discuss this with the BJP now,” said Athawale

Disquiet in Sena over new axis 

Within the Shiv Sena, most MLAs are unhappy over forging an alliance with NCP-Congress.

The disquiet was one reason why all MLAs were allowed to return home from the hotel where they were lodged, sources claimed.

(With PTI Inputs)



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