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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

Congress-NCP’s conditions for Sena: Common minimum programme, no ties with NDA in Maharashtra

According to leaders from the Congress and NCP, the common minimum programme will speak about reservation for Muslims in education and jobs and complete loan waiver for farmers

mumbai Updated: Nov 11, 2019 07:25 IST
New Delhi, Nov 04 (ANI): NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and President of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Ashok Chavan during a press conference in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)
New Delhi, Nov 04 (ANI): NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and President of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Ashok Chavan during a press conference in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI Photo)
         

Before supporting the Shiv Sena’s bid to form the government, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress have set two conditions to send out a message that they are supporting the government formation “in the interest of people”.

The first is the Sena should quit the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and ask its minister in the Modi government to resign. Second, there should be a common minimum programme for governance to safeguard the interest of farmers, minorities and backward classes.

According to leaders from the Congress and NCP, the common minimum programme will speak about reservation for Muslims in education and jobs and complete loan waiver for farmers. The Congress leadership has also conveyed it to the Sena that it would not approve of any pro-Hindu posturing by the government.

The Congress is extra cautious about going with the Shiv Sena and may want to play a ‘passive role’. Their leaders held a high-level meeting on Sunday evening in Jaipur, Rajasthan, in the backdrop of developments in the state. The MLAs too were consulted by the leaders. Most of the legislators are in favour of supporting the government, while some of them even want to participate in the government.

Party’s senior leader and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and the All India Congress Committee general secretary and in-charge Maharashtra, Mallikarjun Kharge, attended the meetings, while senior party leader Ahmed Patel has been kept in the loop about developments.

Senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said his party does not want President’s rule in Maharashtra. “It is a crisis-like situation in the state with the BJP’s announcement of its inability to form the government. We are holding discussions over the political scenario in the state and will take a decision by speaking to the party high command,” he said.

In the recently held state Assembly elections, the BJP and Shiv Sena have got 105 and 56 seats, respectively. The NCP has got 54 seats, while the Congress secured 44 seats in the 288-member state Assembly.

The NCP is expected to gear up its talks with the Shiv Sena soon. The NCP has called a meeting of its leaders on Tuesday, when the proposal is expected to put before the legislators and leaders for their opinion officially.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a meeting with party leader Praful Patel for more than an hour on Sunday, before which Pawar said as there was no proposal from the Sena, it was inappropriate to comment on the party’s role in formation of the government.

Later in the evening, the NCP decided to support the Shiv Sena to form the government on the above-mentioned terms and conditions, said spokesperson Nawab Malik.

NCP insiders said they are wary of the BJP that can extend its unconditional support to the Shiv Sena as a strategy to keep the Congress and NCP out of power, like it did in the past after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections in 2012. “We don’t want the Shiv Sena to open back-channel talks and get some deal from the BJP, while having simultaneous talks with us. In that case, we will be badly exposed,” said an NCP functionary. “This is the reason we have asked the party to snap its ties with BJP by coming out of the NDA,” he added.