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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

May miss Governor’s deadline, says NCP’s Ajit Pawar on staking claim

The Shiv Sena had received a similar invitation on Sunday after the BJP, the single largest party, declined to stake claim.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2019 14:01 IST
Faisal Malik and Surendra P Gangan
Faisal Malik and Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Ajit Pawar, leader of the NCP’s legislative party.
Ajit Pawar, leader of the NCP’s legislative party.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT file photo)

Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, which received a late evening invite from Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to form the government in Maharashtra, on Tuesday said it might be difficult for the party to meet the tight timeline set by Raj Bhavan.

The Shiv Sena had received a similar invitation on Sunday after the BJP, the single largest party, declined to stake claim. But the Sena’s offer expired last evening after the Sena scion Aaditya Thackeray told Raj Bhavan that its two potential partners, Congress and NCP, needed time to complete their formalities. It was the NCP’s turn next, the third largest party in the 288-member assembly with 54 seats. The majority mark is 145.

Ajit Pawar, leader of the NCP’s legislative party, told reporters on Tuesday morning that all three parties - Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress - will have to come together to form a stable government in Maharashtra. He, however, said it would be difficult to arrive at a consensus on the matter by today evening.

 Also Watch | Maharashtra Governor invites NCP; Sonia, Pawar continue talks on Sena tie-up

Ajit Pawar said Congress and NCP have never formed a government with Shiv Sena till date and hence they will have to answer people over the alliance. “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 can be imposed by the time but that doesn’t matter if we get the majority figure. It can be resolved,” Ajit Pawar said.

Ajit Pawar suggested that the NCP had been ready with its letter of support to the Sena yesterday but that document did not mean much unless the Congress also is on board.

“For a stable government, all the three parties (NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena) will have come together. Without Congress, a government cannot be formed. NCP is of the view that there should be unanimity in the decision of both the parties (Congress and NCP) as both have contested the assembly elections together,” Ajit Pawar said while leaving Sharad Pawar’s residence Silver Oak in the morning.

Congress leaders in Delhi and Mumbai have, however, contradicted this version, insisting that the letter of support to the Shiv Sena to form government was ready but it was held back on the advice of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

The Congress and NCP have decided to first finalise modalities while being part of the government. The leaders from the two parties will discuss various issues including common minimum programme and sharing of the power and then discuss is with the Shiv Sena, which will lead it by installing its chief minister.

“We had arrived at a certain decision after rounds of meetings in Delhi and Jaipur yesterday. When it was conveyed to Sharad Pawarji, he told our leaders to wait for some time as more discussions between the two parties was necessary. We are meeting in Mumbai today and if the need be, we will hold discussion with Shiv Sena too,” said Congress leader Manikrao Thakre.

“The discussion first between Congress and NCP and then with the Sena is crucial and it does not seem that it will be completed today. The party leadership does not want to arrive at any conclusion over sharing of the power or the outline of the government policies over the key areas related to the farmers, socially backward classes and minorities. We will discuss these issues first at the state level before taking it to the central leadership for final nod,” another Congress leader said.