In Maharashtra’s new coalition, farm loan waiver and 80% jobs for locals
Elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly were held on October 21 and counted three days later.Updated: Nov 23, 2019 06:57 IST
After weeks of a political impasse in the state, the Shiv Sena, Congress and Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have finally announced their decision to form a government in Maharashtra. Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Friday that all three parties were unanimous on Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray leading the alliance. Pawar too announced that Thackeray would lead the new government. Elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly were held on October 21 and counted three days later. When no political party could form the government, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari recommended President’s Rule on November 12 plunging Maharashtra into a political crisis. Here are ten points to sum up how Maharashtra’s political future is panning out:
1. The post of the chief minister is likely to be held by Thackeray since the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena legislators want him to be Maharashtra’s next CM. The Shiv Sena fell out with its ally BJP over sharing the CM’s post.
2. The BJP-Sena alliance had secured 105 and 56 seats respectively in the 288-member Assembly.
3. The Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress have finalised a draft common minimum programme (CMP) focussing on the plight of farmers, unemployment, education and health care in the state. The draft CMP makes several pledges under different sub-heads. It promises an immediate farm loan waiver, financial assistance to farmers suffering due to floods, and premature rainfall and remunerative prices for crops.
4. The document also has provisions for enacting a law to ensure 80% reservation in jobs for local unemployed youth and a fellowship for educated unemployed youth.
5. The draft common minimum programme, which runs into three pages, is likely to be the main thread that holds the negotiations between the three parties together, all senior leaders of the political parties have indicated. “We have completed discussions. There is complete unanimity between the Congress and the NCP on all issues,” former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said after three rounds of consultations between the pre-poll partners since Wednesday.
6. The Congress and NCP’s pre-poll allies include the Peasants and Workers Party, the Samajwadi Party and Swabhimani Paksha. “Our pre-poll allies have supported the idea of forming a government in Maharashtra to keep the BJP away from power,” NCP leader Jayant Patil said on Friday.
7. The three parties may also agree to the formation of two coordination committees -- one at the government level, and the other at the party level.
8. The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress have the support of 154 MLAs, well above the halfway mark of 145. The political parties have agreed to share ministerial berths according to their strength in the assembly, leaders who were part of the negotiations said.
9. The NCP and Congress have objected to the Shiv Sena’s proposal to name the alliance “Mahashivaghadi”, emphasizing that there cannot be dominance of any one particular party in the alliance. An alternative -- Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (Maharashtra development coalition) -- is among the top choices.
10. Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has called the alliance among the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress an opportunistic one. “Opportunism is the base of their alliance. The three parties have become united with the only motto of keeping the BJP out of power. I have doubts whether this government will be formed... Even if it is formed, it will not last beyond six to eight months,” Gadkari told the media.