Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar talk over phone; explore govt formation in Maharashtra
The conversation between Thackeray and Pawar took place when the former called on party leader Sanjay Raut’s phone while he was at Sharad Pawar’s residence.Updated: Nov 01, 2019 17:16 IST
Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray spoke with Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar over the phone on Thursday night, confirmed insiders in both parties, even as the former’s stand-off with ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over government formation in Maharashatra continues.
The conversation took place when Thackeray called on party leader Sanjay Raut’s phone while he was at Sharad Pawar’s residence. This comes at a time when there is a high-level of speculation about the NCP and the Congress helping the Shiv Sena make up the numbers to form the government in Maharashtra.
While the BJP and Sena fought the elections together and secured 105 seats and 56 seats respectively, they have been having trouble in coming to an agreement about portfolios and about a shared Chief Minister deal with both parties hardening their positions over the issue.
The talks between Thackeray and Pawar last night were to explore if NCP with its 54 MLAs and Congress with its 44 MLAs can provide Sena the support it needs. During the conversation some contours of a possible alliance were discussed, one being that both the Congress and the NCP would give outside support.
A day after the meeting, Raut warned BJP that it could get the numbers to form the government in the state. “If Shiv Sena decides, it’ll get the required numbers to form a stable government in the state,’’ said Raut. His confidence, said leaders in both the Congress and the NCP who spoke to Hindustan Times, comes from the fact that at the face of it, the suggestion hasn’t been rejected outright by Pawar.
Sharad Pawar is now coming to the capital on Tuesday, November 5, to discuss the proposal with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who has already held talks with senior leaders from the state. A Congress insider told Hindustan Times that the Maharashtra unit of the party has conveyed to the top brass that they welcome the idea. “They feel that anything should be done to stop the BJP from coming to power,’’ he said.
However, some Congress and NCP leaders are wary. “What if the Sena uses this to just get what they need from BJP?’’ asked a leader.
A Congress leader said that everything depended on one condition, “Shiv Sena has to break away from the BJP first... We will not be embarassed by them. It is possible that if they are given the Home and the Finance portfolio, they will then form government with the BJP.’’
Former Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam is also of the view that the Congress should keep itself away from the BJP-Shiv Sena fight over power . “It is a fight to grab more ministerial berths by the Shiv Sena. Congress should not get into the drama,” Nirupam tweeted on Friday
Former chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde too has said that Congress cannot back Shiv Sena to form the government. “Congress should not get into this unholy alliance with the party like Shiv Sena. ”