The Shiv Sena, on Thursday, asked the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to quit its alliance with the Congress if it wanted to form the government with the help of the saffron combine.
Senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi told journalists that his party was ready to support the NCP if it snapped ties with the Congress.
The Congress and NCP have not yet reached a consensus over the power sharing formula. The Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance has 90 seats in the Assembly and if it forges ties with the NCP (which has 62 seats), the trio can get a majority in the Assembly with 152 seats.
Joshi, however, said that any move on an alliance with the NCP could happen only if the latter decided to break ties with the Congress.
Joshi’s open offer to the NCP sparked a flurry of reactions in political circles with both, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, denying the possibility of any such arrangement.
“Right from the beginning, when we went to polls, we were clear that we were with the Congress,” said Bhujbal. “We will form the government with the Congress party. What is left to see is whether we support it from outside or become a part of it.”
BJP leaders, Nitin Gadkari and Gopinath Munde, supported the idea but denied that any efforts were being made in that direction.
The Sena-BJP also rubbished NCP leader Ajit Pawar’s claims that the saffron combine was wooing him. Sena’s group leader in the Assembly, Subhash Desai, said that Ajit Pawar should first quit the NCP and then talk about joining the saffron alliance. “He may do it. He has enough guts,” said Desai.
Pawar also snubbed his nephew. “No party has ever approached Ajit (Pawar),” said Pawar in New Delhi. “It’s entirely baseless.”
State BJP president Nitin Gadkari also denied that any BJP leader was in touch with Ajit.
Desai said that this was the NCP’s strategy to put pressure on the Congress. “The NCP talked about joining us before the Lok Sabha polls as well,” Desai added.