With Congress chief's nod, will Maharashtra get government soon?

Updated: Nov 21, 2019, 07:50 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Final negotiations among Cong, NCP and Shiv Sena seem to be taking place in Delhi at the moment

NCP chief Sharad Pawar with senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel  and other leaders during a meeting regarding government formation in Maharashtra, at Pawar's residence in New Delhi, on Wednesday. Pic/ PTI
NCP chief Sharad Pawar with senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and other leaders during a meeting regarding government formation in Maharashtra, at Pawar's residence in New Delhi, on Wednesday. Pic/ PTI

The non-BJP tri-party arrangement in Maharashtra is likely to take shape any day now but the political developments in this regard have been quite confusing and unpredictable in the past few days. Shiv Sena has put all at stake in shifting its strength to the liberal parties but no other party in the game has come forward to say something concrete. Wednesday was no different as stakeholders said the biggest obstacle in the prospective formation were the Congress's reservations. Party president Sonia Gandhi had, however, given a go-ahead in this regard on Wednesday.

This move gave rise to another round of speculations – that it was borne out of a meeting between PM Narendra Modi and NCP boss Sharad Pawar. At the end of the meeting it officially turned out to be a discussion over an agrarian crisis in Maharashtra for which Pawar wants the Centre to part with a significant financial assistance during the President's rule.

Pawar has got his major ally Congress to talk with the Sena for forming a government in the state that has been put under the President's Rule because the pre-poll allies BJP and Sena couldn't reach undertaking for post-poll coalition. Sena wants the CM's post which the new formation of three parties could make available.

The talks have shifted to New Delhi with Congress president Sonia Gandhi dealing personally with the matter in consultation with senior leadership.

Later in the day, Gandhi met her senior colleagues in the party and Maharashtra leaders, who then had a prolonged meeting with NCP counterparts, including Pawar and Praful Patel. Congress veteran Ahmed Patel led the party's group to Pawar's Delhi residence. They were expected to give the common minimum programme finishing touches and hand it over to Sena for consideration.

D-day tomorrow?

Meantime, Sena's Sanjay Raut said, "You will know everything by tomorrow." Raut has been in touch with both parties and visited the leaders in Delhi.

According to the information available, the Sena has offered new-found partners the deputy CM’s post each with crucial departments in exchange of keeping the CMO with it for five years. Though insiders said there was an agreement in the Congress over giving Sena top post, it came with a rider that party president Uddhav Thackeray takes it instead of nominating any other leader.

However, the five-year-CM-for-Sena proposal might get compromised if the NCP insists upon sharing it. It was also learnt that they have decided to have one ministerial berth per four MLAs for each constituent in the 43-member council of ministers.

Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan told media persons on Wednesday that the Congress and NCP would continue to discuss the impasse on Thursday as well. "We will give a stable government very soon and end the political crisis in Maharashtra. We will continue to discuss the situation," he said after taking a break from the Congress-NCP joint meeting on Wednesday night.

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