The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have gone into overdrive with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan rushing to Delhi for discussions with the party high command on the power sharing formula.
The deadline for forming a government is around the corner but talks between the allies have been inconclusive so far.
“The ball is in the court of the Congress now. We have demanded 21 berths. It is up to them to decide what they want to do,” said
NCP spokesperson Madan Bafna.
The new government could be sworn in any time if the Congress high command clears the formula.
The next round of direct talks between the two parties is now expected on Sunday morning when senior NCP leader Praful Patel returns from Istanbul.
Congress leaders have suggested to the NCP that a few ministers from both sides should take the oath along with Chavan and his deputy, Chhagan Bhujbal, as the government needs to be formed by November 3.
The contentious issue of sharing of portfolios can be sorted out later, the Congress feels. The NCP is yet to respond to the suggestion.
The bone of contention between the two parties is the Congress’ rising clout in the state’s electoral politics.
The Congress is seeking more ministerial berths as its numbers in the Assembly have increased.
The party also wants control of important portfolios like home, finance, energy and rural development.
Certain NCP leaders also hinted at exploring other alliances.
“A proposal similar to
the Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) was not a bad idea,” senior NCP leader Govindrao Adik said in Pune on Saturday.
The PDF was formed when NCP chief Sharad Pawar broke away from the Congress and joined hands with the main opposition party, the Janata Dal, in 1979. Pawar became the chief minister.
Adik’s remark assumes significance following NCP’s leader Ajit Pawar’s disclosure that the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance offered him the post of chief minister if the NCP split from the Congress.
Adik however later clarified his position saying that his statement was in support of the performance of the PDF and had nothing to do with the present political situation.