Congress should not back the Shiv Sena and the NCP in government formation in Maharashtra if it is not going to get the chief minister's post on a rotational basis, Union minister Ramdas Athawale said on Thursday. Athawale's comments came amid reports the Shiv Sena and the NCP may share the chief ministerial post for two-and-a-half years in the government that the Congress is likely to join as the third player and may get the deputy chief minister's post.
The Congress and the NCP are at present in the process of forging ties with the Shiv Sena to form the government in the state, which is under President's rule since November 12. The Shiv Sena, which contested the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly polls with the BJP, walked away from its ally over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post on a rotational basis for two-and-half years. The BJP had rejected the Shiv Sena's demand for rotational chief ministership.
The Shiv Sena, the NCP and Congress won 56, 54, and 44 seats, respectively, in the 288-member house. "Only the Shiv Sena and the NCP will get the post on a rotational basis in their government to be formed with the help of the Congress," a statement quoted Athawale as saying. Athawale, a BJP ally, said the Congress should "rethink" supporting the government being planned if it is to remain content with the deputy chief minister's post.
"Congress should not support the new alliance if it is not going to get the chief minister's post. Congress is a national party. It should pitch for sharing the post by the Shiv Sena for two years and one-and-half years each by the NCP and Congress," the RPI (A) chief added. The Dalit leader had earlier pitched for forming a government led by the BJP, the single largest party with 105 seats, in the state.
Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said in Delhi that his party and the NCP have "complete unanimity" on all issues concerning government formation in Maharashtra and they will now hold talks with the Shiv Sena to "finalise the architecture of the alliance". The Congress and NCP will hold deliberations with its pre-poll allies here on Friday before meeting the Shiv Sena.