As the power tussle between Shiv Sena and BJP in Maharashtra intensifies, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar is likely to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday. The development comes after a possibility of Shiv Sena forming the government with support from Congress and NCP.
According to reports, Pawar will meet Gandhi and discuss talks pertaining to the government formation in Maharashtra. Following the Vidhan Sabha election mandate nine days ago, there are still no signs about the government foundation. The Mahayuti or mega-alliance allies are engaged in a strong faceoff over who will become the next Chief Minister. The Shiv Sena has maintained its stand and has demanded a 50:50 formula over power sharing in Maharashtra.
Even so, earlier on Friday Sharad Pawar had asserted that the NCP will sit in the opposition as per the mandate in the elections. Speaking to reporters in Nashik, he also termed the tussle between the BJP and its ally Shiv Sena over sharing of the Chief Minister's post as "childish". The BJP and Shiv Sena, which contested the October 21 Maharashtra assembly poll jointly, won 105 and 56 seats respectively. The NCP and Congress have clinched 54 and 44 seats respectively.
Pawar had also dismissed reports of Shiv Sena forming the government with NCP-Congress support and said that there was no discussion in his party in this regard.
"We do not have a clear majority. People have asked us to sit in the opposition. We accept that mandate and will take care that we play that role effectively," he said.
In addition, Pawar also hit out at the saffron alliance and said that:
"The people have given them the opportunity (to form government). They must use it. But what is going on now (between them) is childish in my opinion."
When the poll result was announced on October 24, the saffron alliance swept Maharashtra, winning a combined tally of 161 (BJP- 105, Sena -56). But the 'Maha- Agadhi' alliance (NCP-Congress) made a comeback as the NCP bagged 54 seats while the languishing Congress too bagged 44 seats. Though the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will form the next government, it was handed a diminished mandate compared to 2014 where it won 185 seats.
(With PTI Inputs)