Pawar rules out backing Sena to form new govtUpdated: Oct 27, 2019, 00:39 IST
As the Shiv Sena continues to put pressure on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seeking equal sharing of power, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said that respecting the people’s mandate, his party has decided to take the place of the Opposition, and that there was no point in talking about any other option. The Congress, too, has clarified that the party had not received any proposal from the Sena seeking its support to form the government. This would effectively weaken the Sena’s reliance on any other option, than forming a government with the BJP.
Speaking to the media at his residence in Baramati in Pune, Pawar said the NCP has decided to be in Opposition as per the mandate given by the people of Maharashtra in the Assembly polls. “It is the mandate of the people and this [forming the government] is not an option before us,” he said.
Senior party leader Praful Patel said the party was ready to play the role of a strong Opposition. “We do not want to have any role in the government formation. BJP-Shiv Sena have got the mandate and we wish them best,” he said.
There were speculations that Congress and NCP may extend their support if Sena resolves to form the government, parting ways from its traditional ally BJP. After BJP was reduced to 105 seats against its 2014 tally of 122, the bargaining power of its ally, Sena, has risen. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has reportedly said they have “other options open” if the BJP does not concede to their demand for equal sharing of power.
Congress’s state unit president Balasaheb Thorat called on Pawar on Saturday morning at the latter’s Baramati residence. Thorat later said this was a courtesy visit on the occasion of Diwali. Thorat has already clarified that there was no discussion going on with the Sena over any alliance to form the government. “There was no such proposal from the Sena. I do not think Sena will come forward with such a proposal, dropping its alliance partner BJP. If any such proposal comes forward, we will discuss it with our party high command,” Thorat said.
He also said there was no discussion held over the post of the leader of Opposition in the legislative Assembly during his meeting with Pawar. As the NCP has won more seats than the Congress, the former is expected to stake claim for the post. Congress has won 44 seats, while the NCP has bagged 54 seats. NCP is reportedly considering the names of its senior leaders Jayant Patil, Ajit Pawar and Dhananjay Munde for the post.
Meanwhile, the NCP has convened a meeting of its newly-elected MLAs on October 30. The party is expected to elect is legislature leader during the meeting.