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Saturday, Dec 07, 2019

Maharashtra govt uncertainty continues: Sharad Pawar-Sonia Gandhi meeting pushed ahead

Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar has called a meeting of his party’s core committee on Sunday evening in Pune, where he is likely to discuss the current political scenario and take a decision over government formation before heading to New Delhi.

mumbai Updated: Nov 17, 2019 05:56 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
A meeting, which was scheduled to happen in New Delhi on Sunday evening between Sharad Pawar and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has been postponed.
A meeting, which was scheduled to happen in New Delhi on Sunday evening between Sharad Pawar and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has been postponed.(HT Photo)
         

A day after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will be formed in Maharashtra and it will complete its five-year term, the formation of the next government is likely to be further delayed. A meeting, which was scheduled to happen in New Delhi on Sunday evening between Pawar and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has been postponed. The leaders are now expected to meet on Monday or Tuesday.

As uncertainty over forming an alliance continued, Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena cancelled a joint visit of its leaders to meet Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday afternoon, to demand immediate relief for farmers affected by unseasonal rain. The Governor, later in the day, announced a relief package for farmers, making the proposed visit inconsequential.

Meanwhile, Pawar has called a meeting of his party’s core committee on Sunday evening in Pune, where he is likely to discuss the current political scenario and take a decision over government formation before heading to New Delhi.

President’s rule was imposed in Maharashtra on November 12 after none of the parties could prove majority (145 MLAs) in the 288-member Assembly. Results of the Assembly elections on October 24 had given pre-poll allies Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (105 seats) and Sena (56 seats) a clear majority. However, the parties could not arrive at an agreement over sharing the chief minister’s post, following which Sena began talks with NCP (54 seats) and Congress (44 seats). Sena, NCP and Congress have been holding parleys over the past few weeks, trying to formulate a common minimum programme for their alliance, since the three parties have traditionally had different ideologies.

“The meeting between Gandhi and Pawar in New Delhi [on Sunday] was to discuss a possible alliance with Shiv Sena. But Pawar has conveyed that he has called a meeting of his party’s core committee on Sunday evening, making it difficult for him to reach Delhi in time,” said a Congress leader, on condition of anonymity.

The NCP’s core committee meeting is expected to begin at 4pm. “Pawar saheb is expected to fly to New Delhi after 8pm. Hence, the meeting with Soniaji may not be possible,” said an NCP leader, who did not wish to be named.

Explaining the decision to reschedule Saturday’s meeting with the Governor, Sena leader Eknath Shinde said the meeting could not happen as all leaders are touring areas affected by the unseasonal rain in Maharashtra. “Leaders of all three parties were busy with tours of the rainfall-affected areas and so they could not reach Mumbai. The three parties have decided to reschedule the visit. Besides, several legislators had to submit their poll expenses to the election commission observers as a matter of procedure,” Shinde said.

Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe, too, said candidates are expected to submit their poll expenses and so no one was available. “All the leaders and legislators of the party were in their respective constituencies following which the meeting was postponed,” Londe said.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA Jaykumar Gore reportedly met Pawar at his Modibaug residence in Pune, sparking speculation of BJP legislators getting in touch with NCP. Pawar, however, told the media that he did not meet Gore.