Sharad Pawar: Never discussed govt formation with Congress

Updated: 19 November, 2019 11:57 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

With the NCP chief making this statement, the political situation in the state sees a further twist even Sena awaits NCP-Cong support for government formation

NCP chief Sharad Pawar with NCP MP Sunil Tatkare addresses a press conference after a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss government formation in Maharashtra in New Delhi. Pic/ PTI
NCP chief Sharad Pawar with NCP MP Sunil Tatkare addresses a press conference after a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss government formation in Maharashtra in New Delhi. Pic/ PTI

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said that the common minimum programme wasn’t discussed by the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena. He also said that the possibility of supporting the Sena or forming a government wasn’t discussed between him and Congress president Sonia Gandhi but stressed that they have decided to keep assessing the impasse further.

A common minimum programme is a document outlining the objectives of a coalition government.
Pawar’s outright dismissal of the talks that took place between the state leaders of the non-BJP parties was shocking because these events were promoted by the participants who hold responsible positions in their respective parties. The pictures of closely-guarded meetings were sent to mediapersons. Even Pawar had said at Congress-NCP’s joint media conference that the CMP would be discussed. However, on Monday he said there was no reason for them to talk about it. “MLAs keep on. They might have discussed why the formation of government was delayed,” said Pawar.

Political circles were not very convinced with Pawar’s twister though he came up with a reason for it. “Our small allies are upset because we haven’t discussed with them. There is Swabhimani’s Raju Shetti, Samajwadi Party, Republican (Kawade) and PWP. They may be smaller parties but we think we should also talk to them and seek their views,” he said.
More twists
Pawar met Gandhi in the presence of senior Congress leader A K Antony, who has been consistently thwarting some Congress leaders’ bid of allying with the right-wing Sena, which is desperately trying to get the CM’s post. Antony’s opinion weighs heavy for the party president. He was also present during Pawar’s earlier meeting with Sonia.

He said the BJP could do anything it wanted and reporters should ask Sena about 170 MLAs that were supposedly backing to make the government.

No wonder then, uncertainty loomed large, and PM Modi gave it a further twist when he praised NCP for following the parliamentary decorum by not violating traditions and rules of law-making institutes.

“Today I want to appreciate two parties @NCPspeaks (NCP) and @bjd_odisha (Biju Janata Dal). These parties have wonderfully adhered to Parliamentary norms. They have never ventured into the well. Yet, they have made their points very effectively. Much can be learnt from these practices,” Modi tweeted after making similar remarks.

Pawar said the PM had spoken about good practices. “We follow rules. I have never left my seat in the house to raise issues.”

In a departure from his announcement made on the day of Ayodhya verdict, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has postponed a plan to visit the holy city on November 24, apparently because the tour, if executed, would have upset a liberal Congress that wants Sena to soften its Hindutva plank if it wants support.

Considering a possibility of getting the axis damaged even before it was formed, Thackeray is learned to have taken a decision to placate the prospective ally. Thackeray had turned a demand for the Ram Mandir construction into a much-publicised expedition to Ayodhya on November 24, 2018. His entourage of 5,000 Shiv Sainiks had made the holy city their abode for two days, conducted a grand aarti at Sarayu river and Thackeray announced a mission: pehle mandir fir sarkar (first the temple, then the government). The tour gained traction ahead Lok Sabha polls, for which Sena and BJP forged an alliance.

The alliance talks held between Thackeray and BJP president Amit Shah have turned out to be a genesis of the crisis – a fall-out between the partners of 25 years.

The Sena wanted the CM’s post saying that Shah promised the same while the BJP president and his party have dismissed such an assurance.

Tensions have escalated with Sena heading towards the NCP and Congress making them prospective partners in a tri-party government. First, Sena minister Arvind Sawant quit the Modi Cabinet last week after which the BJP formally ousted the Sena from the NDA. The Sena sat in the Opposition benches in the Parliamentary session on Monday but refused to join hands with the Congress-led UPA.

No. of days that the Sena-BJP have been alliance partners before the recent break-up

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First Published: 19 November, 2019 08:00 IST

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