MUMBAI: Top leaders of the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP began a meeting here on Friday to give shape to the new government to be led by the Uddhav Thackeray- headed party in Maharashtra, nearly a month after assembly poll results were announced.
Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai, Sanjay Raut (all Shiv Sena), Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge, K C Venugopal, Avinash Pande, Balasaheb Thorat, Prithviraj Chavan (Congress), Praful Patel, Jayant Patil and Ajit Pawar (NCP) are taking part in the meeting.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray are also attending the deliberations at Nehru Centre in South Mumbai aimed at giving momentum to install a non-BJP government in the country's richest state, which is under President's rule.
Kharge, while leaving for the meeting from suburban Bandra, told reporters that a decision on when to stake claim to form the government will be decided after the meeting.
Sources said deliberations will focus on finalising a common minimum programme (CMP) and power-sharing between the three parties in the new government.
Stake claim for government formation on Friday night or Saturday morning: NCP
The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress will stake claim to form government in Maharashtra either late night on Friday or Saturday morning, NCP's chief spokesman Nawab Malik has said.
Malik also said the three parties will give priority to running the government for five years.
"Some leaders of the three parties will meet in the evening (on Friday). They will discuss all the points and take the final call. We will stake claim to form the government late tonight or in the morning tomorrow," Malik said to PTI.
He reiterated the chief minister's post will go to the Shiv Sena.
Asked about reports of the Shiv Sena and the NCP sharing the chief ministerial post for two-and-half years, Malik said the issue is not important for the parties.
"What is important is the government runs for five years, people's sentiments are respected. Our priority to form the government at the earliest," he added.
Inching closer to form government along with the Sena, the Congress and the NCP held talks with their pre-poll allies - the Peasants Workers Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Swabhimani Paksha and the CPI(M) - earlier in the day before parleys with the Uddhav Thackeray-headed party.
NCP leader Jayant Patil said smaller pre-poll allies of his party and the Congress have backed the idea of forming a government with the Shiv Sena to keep the BJP away from power in the state.
"Our pre-poll allies have supported the idea of forming a government in Maharashtra to keep the BJP away from power," Patil, who was accompanied by senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, told reporters after the meeting here.