Behind Maharashtra delay, Sharad Pawar’s cautious approach to seal the pact
The Sena, with 56 legislators, could have claimed support of 154 with the MLAs of the NCP and the Congress but governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari denied the party’s request for more time to stake claim.Updated: Nov 12, 2019 19:24 IST
The Shiv Sena failed to form a government in Maharashtra as the NCP and the Congress did not provide the letters of support in time. The Sena, with 56 legislators, could have claimed support of 154 with the MLAs of the NCP and the Congress but governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari denied the party’s request for more time to stake claim.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Union Cabinet, chaired by PM Modi, recommended President’s rule in the state.
Later in the evening, President Ram Nath Kovind signed on the recommendation and the Maharashtra assembly was put into suspended animation.
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So what is that the NCP and the Congress are discussing? Is it just a delaying tactic because the Congress is not keen to support a Shiv Sena-led government?
According to leaders from both parties, the delay is happening because they want a proper common minimum programme (CMP) and a power-sharing pact with Shiv Sena before forming the government. If the Sena agrees to the same, the two parties will announce their support to a Sena-led government.
“We need to have a common minimum programme in place. May be it is difficult to resolve all these things by today evening. President’s rule could be imposed but that doesn’t matter if we get the majority figure. It can be resolved,”said senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar.
A close aide of party chief Sharad Pawar said: “Forming government is easy but running it is a real challenge. As such NCP chief Sharad Pawar has insisted on a proper power-sharing pact which will include how many ministerial berths each partner in coalition will have, which departments will go to whom, who will get the posts of speaker and deputy speaker of the assembly and what would be the mechanism if there is disagreement over any issue. This will need time.”
The Congress and the NCP have run three coalition governments in the state since 1999 and on each occasion they had a proper power sharing pact beforehand, the Pawar aide pointed out.
At the same time, the three parties will work out a CMP which will form the basis of the Congress and the NCP support to Sena to run a government.
The Congress is insisting on a CMP since it is supporting a party which has a different ideology, said a senior Congress leader.
Things could become a little more time-consuming as the Congress may also join the government.
“For a stable government, all the three parties (NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena) will have to come together. Without Congress, a government cannot be formed,”said Ajit Pawar.
Pawar aides say their leader has made it clear that the party will first discuss details of power sharing with the Congress since the two parties have contested elections together. After that, there would be talks with the Shiv Sena in which representatives from all three parties would participate. If they agree, a decision on government formation will be taken, an announcement will be made and Congress-NCP leaders will accompany Sena to Governor to stake claim.