Sonia, Pawar To Meet On Sunday Over Maharashtra

Amid discussions over formation of government in Maharashtra, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar would meet on Sunday to discuss their next course of action.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is Congress’ in-charge for Maharashtra, said on Friday that his party alone cannot take decisions and the two leaders will meet on Sunday.

“Congress alone can’t decide things. NCP chief Sharad Pawar and AICC president Sonia Gandhi will sit together on November 17 and discuss the next course of action. They will decide how to solve this problem. Only after that, the other actions will follow,” Kharge told ANI.

He said once they both sit and discuss, only then will the political strategy be prepared. “That will be followed and implemented,” he said.

The Congress and the NCP, which fought the assembly polls together, and the Shiv Sena have prepared a draft common minimum programme (CMP), which will be discussed by senior leaders of three parties.

The three parties are having talks for the formation of the non-BJP government in the state where the President’s Rule was imposed earlier this week.

The Shiv Sena and the BJP, who had fought the polls together, could not form the government due to differences over power-sharing.

The BJP emerged as the single-largest party in the state with 105 seats in 288-member assembly followed by Shiv Sena 56, NCP 54 and Congress 44.

Sources said senior leaders of the party met Sonia Gandhi and discussed the developments in Maharashtra. They said the party will first talk to the NCP and was apparently in favour of “NCP-Congress plus Shiv Sena” option and not “NCP, Congress, Shiv Sena” option.

NCP leader Nawab Malik told ANI in Mumbai that the next chief minister will only be from the Shiv Sena.

“Question is being asked continuously whether the Chief Minister will be from Shiv Sena? Differences came up between the Shiv Sena and the BJP due to the Chief Minister’s post. So definitely the chief minister will be from the Shiv Sena, which has been insulted. It is our responsibility to maintain their self-respect,” Malik said.

The BJP, which had earlier declined to form the government, has said that no government can be formed without the party’s participation in the process.

Maharashtra’s BJP unit president Chandrakant Patil on Friday said that his party has the highest number in the assembly and that it will form the government in the state with the support of 119 MLAs.

“We have the highest number. With 119 MLAs we will form a BJP government in the state. Devendra Fadnavis has expressed this confidence before party leaders. We are committed to giving a stable government to the state,” Patil said at a press conference here.

NCP chief Pawar, who was in Nagpur, ruled out the possibility of midterm elections in the state while asserting that the process has begun to form government in the state.

“The process for forming the government has begun. You don’t worry. We will form a government for five years. There is no question of mid-term elections. Had the people given a clear mandate, no such question would have come up,” he told reporters.

The Congress has to decide about the nature of its participation and support to the government. A section of the party had been against supporting a Sena-led government.

A joint delegation of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress leaders has sought time from Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for a meeting on Saturday to discuss farmers’ issues.


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