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Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

NCP was at centre of action in Maharashtra, but couldn’t find a solution

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) remained at the centre of political activities, but could not ensure formation of an alternative government, even after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s meeting with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.

mumbai Updated: Nov 12, 2019 07:52 IST
Faisal Malik and Shrinivas Deshpande
Faisal Malik and Shrinivas Deshpande
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)
         

Amid rapid developments in the state, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) remained at the centre of political activities, but could not ensure formation of an alternative government, even after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s meeting with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. Consequently, later in the evening, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari asked the NCP if it was in a position to form the next government.

After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the single-largest party in the state, failed to get the magic figure of 145 MLAs to form government, the Sena got 24 hours to prove that it has the support of a majority of MLAs. Pawar held a meeting with Thackeray at a five-star hotel in suburban Mumbai on Monday afternoon.

Considering the apprehensions raised by the Congress leadership, Pawar had asked Thackeray to seek additional 48 hours to get support from other parties, as their talks were still on. The efforts didn’t yield the desired results, as the Congress didn’t agree to support a government with the Shiv Sena and the Governor refused to grant an extension. Thackeray then had a telephonic conversation with Pawar.

A faction of the NCP is still hopeful the party will be able to convince the Congress leadership to extend support to the government by Wednesday.

“Leaders from south India are against the Shiv Sena and are making all efforts to deter the leadership from supporting a Sena-NCP government. They feel the move will cause serious trouble for the party in southern as well as northern states,” said a NCP functionary.

“Taking the concerns into consideration, Pawar had asked Thackeray to seek 48 hours from the Governor. In the meantime, he also had a telephonic conversation with Congress’s acting president Sonia Gandhi,” said another NCP leader.

Earlier in the day, Pawar stressed his party’s stand would be in line with the stance adopted by its ally. “The NCP’s decision will be in agreement with the Congress, our ally. We have not put forth any condition before the Shiv Sena,” he told reporters, as he walked into the party’s core group meeting at YB Chavan Centre.

The NCP held two rounds of core committee meeting during the day, as the Congress could not reach to a decision. Now, the NCP plans to get Congress’s support on the grounds that the Governor has called them (NCP) to form the government and not Shiv Sena.

“The Congress is not ready to support the Shiv Sena owing to his hardcore Hindutva stand. The NCP and Congress cannot reach a strength of 145 MLAs to stake claim and hence will need Sena’s support,” said senior NCP leader. “In that case, we (NCP) will convince the Congress that the Sena is now supporting us. Then, the Congress might get ready to support a non-BJP government.”

As far as the post of the chief minister is concerned, he said, “First, we have to submit a letter with signatures of all 145 MLAs in the stipulated time to the governor. The discussion on who will claim the CM post can be held later. However, there are instances where an independent MLA became the chief minister. For instance, Madhu Koda was appointed as Jharkhand CM when he was elected as an independent MLA in 2006.”

On Monday evening, a delegation of NCP leaders headed by Ajit Pawar, legislative leader of the party, also met Governor where they were invited to form the government in the next 24 hours.

Ajit Pawar said, “The Governor has invited us to form the government as the third single largest party. We will discuss the Governor’s invitation with the Congress to reach a consensus and will also have a discussion with the Shiv Sena.”

The NCP has also called a meeting of all legislators on Tuesday where they are expected to discuss the current political situation. To resolve the deadlock, the party is also likely to hold another round of talks with Sena and Congress leadership on Tuesday.