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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Will work with Congress-NCP on government formation, says Uddhav Thackeray

Asked how the Sena, Congress, NCP who have different ideologies will work together, Thackeray referred to BJP’s alliances in Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2019 00:46 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke in favour of joining hands with his erstwhile rivals, the NCP and Congress.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke in favour of joining hands with his erstwhile rivals, the NCP and Congress.(Shashi S Kashyap/HT PHOTO)
         

The Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress indicated on Tuesday that they were open to discussing the possibility of forming the government in Maharashtra but made it clear that talks will move forward only after negotiations on the finer details of power sharing.

In a joint press conference, pre-poll allies Congress and the NCP said the two parties would discuss the pros and cons of forming a government with the Sena and then take a decision on supporting it.

“We need to clarify certain things, also discuss a common minimum programme before taking any decision,” said senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel after meeting NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other NCP leaders. He said the two parties got a proposal from the Sena to form the government only on Monday and would need to discuss it with each other first. “We won’t go ahead unless we are clear about what would be the policies and programmes of the government,” said Pawar.

Less than an hour later, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke in favour of joining hands with his erstwhile rivals, the NCP and Congress. “If politics is going in a new direction, it something is starting, then we should wait and see,”he said after meeting party MLAs who are lodged in a retreat in north Mumbai. “The Congress, NCP and we have different points. We will bring those together, discuss and see if we can find a way,”he said.

Asked how the Sena, Congress, NCP who have different ideologies will work together, Thackeray referred to BJP’s alliances in Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. “We will see how parties of different ideologies can come together like the BJP went with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed [J&K], Nitish Kumar [Bihar] and Chandrababu Naidu [Andhra Pradesh],”he said. Thackeray said he was not lured by the Congress-NCP combine. “But the state BJP chief wished me good luck to go ahead with both parties and form government. I think I should respect it.”

Asked about the delay in government formation, he asked people to wait. “If Maharashtra’s politics is taking a new shape, then all need to wait for some time…,” he said.

Thackeray, however, chose to not comment when asked if his 30-year-old alliance with the BJP was over. “Forming a government is not child’s play. It will have to be a stable government. Even we have some issues to discuss (with Congress-NCP) and that’s why we had sought more time from the governor,” he said. “We had asked for 48 hours but the governor gave us six months,” he said, referring to the imposition of President’s Rule in the state on Tuesday.

The Sena, which has 56 legislators, is dependent on the NCP’s 54 and the Congress’s 44 lawmakers to cross the majority mark of 145 in the 288-member assembly. The BJP has 105 members and there are 29 members from smaller parties and independents.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has deputed Patel and other senior leaders, Mallikarjun Kharge and K C Venugopal, to hold discussions on the alliance.

According to senior leaders from both Congress and NCP, the allies want a proper common minimum programme and a power-sharing pact with Sena. “We need to have a common minimum programme in place. May be it is difficult to resolve all these things by this 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 Pawar said the NCP chief had insisted on a detailed power-sharing pact that included the possible number of ministerial berths for each party, which department will go to whom and who will get the posts of speaker and deputy speaker. “This will need time,”he said.

Leaders from both parties expect that the discussions between the three parties would take at least a few days. Pawar aides say their leader has made it clear that the party will first discuss the details of power sharing with the Congress. After that, talks will be held with the Sena where representatives from all three parties would participate. If all agree, a decision will be taken.

The Congress brass is also seriously considering feedback from its Maharashtra legislators, many of whom want to support the formation of a government, and want the party to be a part of the administration.

Meanwhile, there were indications that the BJP may embark on a fresh bid to form government. “We are keeping a close watch on the political developments in the state. So far, the Congress-NCP have not given their support to the Sena or even met Sena leaders,’’ said BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar.