Putting the onus on Congress to discuss the future course, NCP leader Ajit Pawar, on Tuesday claimed that Congress' delay was responsible for NCP unable to support Shiv Sena, talking to reporters in Mumbai. He added that any decision will be taken together by NCP-Congress jointly. He also narrated the entire sequence of Monday - stating that NCP waited the whole day for Congress' support letter.
"First we were told that the letter will coma after 10 AM meeting, then after 4 PM we were informed that there is a delay. As the deadline was 7:30 PM, it was not appropriate for us to give our support (to Shiv Sena) alone. We are just 100 MLAs, so any decision cannot happen alone, he said, adding, " We have fought the elections together, hence decision also will be made together. Hence we were waiting for their (Congress) support letter for the whole day, but we did not get that."
Claiming NCP's helplessness due to Congress leaders' unavailability, he stated that the NCP Supremo had stated that he could not meet High Command in Delhi as NCP had called a meeting of all its MLAs. He added that Congress' senior leaders were in Delhi, its MLAs in Jaipur while NCP was in Mumbai. He declared that no government could be formed by NCP alone.
" We are in Mumbai, their MLAs are in Jaipur and their senior leaders are in Delhi. If all were in Mumbai, it will be easy to take a quick decision. We had requested them to come to Mumbai to discuss after the governor's invite. If we have to form a government tomorrow, it is not possible without discussing with Congress," he said.
He added, "If the meeting is held in Delhi today, it is not possible for Sharad Pawar Saheb to go as we have called all our MLAs' meeting here. This has been conveyed to them in Delhi by Pawar Saheb, but if someone comes here today, we are ready to meet and discuss. We have got the mandate to sit in Opposition. Due to the fallout of BJP-Shiv Sena, even if NCP decides alone about what role Shiv Sena will play, the government cannot be formed."
NCP has called a meeting of all its MLAs in Mumbai. Similarly, BJP has called for a core committee meeting, while Shiv Sena has called for all MLAs meeting in Mumbai. Sources report that the Congress High Command will discuss the future course and inform Pawar about Congress' decision over the phone. But the Congress core committee meeting in Delhi has been postponed. Furthermore, state Congress leaders are set to meet NCP leaders at 4 PM, according to sources. This development comes after the governor on Monday, invited NCP to show a willingness to form the government by 8:30 PM on Tuesday. Shiv Sena had failed to cobble up a coalition with the NCP-Congress' support and was denied an extension from the Governor.
As Maharashtra entered its 18th day of having no government on Monday, hectic parleys were held between Congress interim-chief Sonia Gandhi, NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena Supremo Uddhav Thackeray. Senior Congress leaders were flown from Jaipur to Delhi to take a final call on Congress-NCP extending support to Shiv Sena. While Uddhav Thackeray met Pawar and called up Sonia Gandhi multiple times, Congress did not reach a decision by 7:30 PM which was the deadline for Shiv Sena to stake claim. Meanwhile, BJP held a core committee meeting at Fadnavis' residence to prevent defections and to decide the future course. Sena's sole Union Minister Arvind Sawant too resigned from the Modi cabinet in protest. Blaming the Sena for fracturing the Mahayuti alliance, BJP announced that it would not form the next government in the state on Sunday, after meeting the governor.
The saffron alliance swept Maharashtra on October 24, winning a combined tally of 161 (BJP- 105, Sena -56), but is yet to put its majority to use. Meanwhile, the 'Maha- Agadhi' alliance (NCP-54, Congress-44) bagged 98 seats in total. The halfway mark is 145.