We’ll form government that will last 5 years, says NCP chief Sharad Pawar
Ruling out the possibility of mid-term polls in Maharashtra, Pawar said on Friday the three parties wanted to form a stable and development-oriented government.Updated: Nov 16, 2019 01:35 IST
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar said on Friday that an alliance of his party with the Shiv Sena and the Congress will soon form the Maharashtra government and voiced confidence that it will last its full five-year term, indicating progress in talks over a common minimum programme among the three parties.
President’s Rule was imposed in Maharashtra on Tuesday after governor BS Koshyari told the Centre that no party was in a position to form the government, capping nearly three weeks of political instability and triggering criticism from opposition parties.
The Union home ministry has said the customary six-month-long central rule could be revoked earlier if any party came forward to prove a majority in the state assembly.
Ruling out the possibility of mid-term polls in Maharashtra, Pawar said on Friday the three parties wanted to form a stable and development-oriented government.
Talks between the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress began after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which emerged as the single-largest party in last month’s assembly elections, abandoned its efforts to form a government in alliance with the Sena. The two saffron partners bickered for a fortnight over power-sharing arrangements, including the Sena’s demand for rotational chief ministership.
“The three parties, the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, want to form a stable government in Maharashtra and there is no possibility of mid-term polls. This government will be formed and we all will ensure this government runs for five years,” Pawar said in Nagpur, where he was taking stock of crop damage caused by unseasonal rain.
“I can assure you that President’s Rule will not last long and we will provide a stable government soon,” he added.
While the NCP chief appeared non-committal on the issue of chief ministership, his party’s spokesperson, Nawab Malik, said the CM’s post in the state would go to the Sena. “The chief minister will be from the Shiv Sena. It walked away from the alliance [with the BJP] on the issue of the chief minister’s post. It is our responsibility to respect its sentiment,” Malik said.
The Shiv Sena contested the assembly elections in alliance with the BJP, with the two parties together winning 161 seats, comfortably over the majority mark in the 288-member assembly.
The impasse in Maharashtra began soon after the assembly election results threw up a hung House, with the BJP at 105 seats, the Sena at 56, the NCP at 54 and the Congress at 44. After the BJP declined to form the government on Saturday — and blamed the Sena for betraying the people’s mandate — the governor called the regional outfit.
The Sena’s bid was dependent on support from its erstwhile rivals, the NCP and the Congress, but the latter said late on Monday evening that it needed more time.
The Sena is now working with the NCP and the Congress on a common minimum programme that will guide the actions of the government the three parties plan to form.
At a joint press conference on Tuesday, the Congress and the NCP said no call had been taken on an alliance with the Sena and that more discussions were required.
There could be a development in the talks soon, people aware of the developments said, with Pawar expected to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Sunday.
On Friday, there were indications that the three parties were inching towards an arrangement.
Leaders from both the Congress and the NCP said Gandhi and Pawar are expected to finalise the details of government formation, following which there could be a meeting with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and other senior leaders.
“The formal announcement of the three-party coalition is expected after this meeting,” said a senior Congress leader who asked not to be named.
The three parties have been working out a power-sharing formula under which the Sena will get the chief minister’s post, a person aware of the developments said. The three parties have identified six key portfolios which would be divided between them, he added. The Congress has expressed interest in the assembly speaker’s post, the person added.
“We have finalised the draft of common minimum programme at our level and it has been sent to the heads of our respective parties. The decision about joining the government would be taken by our party chief. It would not be proper to disclose any details about it,” said former chief minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, meanwhile, maintained that his party will get the chief minister’s post for the full term of the government. “The chief minister will be from Shiv Sena only. In fact, we want that state has a Sena chief minister for the next 25 years,” he said.
He also said that the Sena-led government will get the benefit of the vast experience of the Congress and NCP.
A delegation of the Congress and NCP has sought an appointment with the governor on Saturday to discuss the plight of farmers who have suffered crop losses due to recent unseasonal rains.
Chavan said the appointment with Koshyari was sought only to take up the farmers’ issues and not to discuss the current political situation in the state.
On Friday morning, former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis called on the governor and urged him to release funds for farmers affected by unseasonal rains.