Maharashtra govt formation Updates: Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut also said that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party walking out of the BJP-headed National Democratic Alliance (NDA) remains a formality now
Maharashtra govt formation Updates: The Shiv Sena will not attend the Sunday meeting of NDA constituents in Delhi ahead of the winter session of Parliament beginning on 18 November.
Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut also said that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party walking out of the BJP-headed National Democratic Alliance (NDA) remains a
The meeting of the three-party delegation of the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena with Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, which was scheduled to take place at 4.30 pm on Saturday, has been postponed till further notice, reports ANI.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Congress and Shiv Sena are scheduled to meet Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at 4.30 pm on Saturday to discuss farmers distress and unemployment.
Ahead of Winter Session of Parliament, which is scheduled to be conducted from Monday, Sanjay Raut said Shiv Sena will skip the National Democratic Party (NDA) meeting in Delhi.
Taking a swipe at the BJP, the Shiv Sena alleged that the saffron party, who now exuded confidence in forming government in Maharashtra after backing off initially, made its intention of horse-trading under the guise of President's rule evident.
The three parties – Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – are likely to meet Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday at 4.30 pm to discuss the ‘wet drought’ facing the state’s farmers.
The first-ever Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance in Maharashtra appears to be taking shape with Sharad Pawar on Friday announcing that the prospective government will complete five-year term and provide a development-oriented administration.
The three-party coalition, a new experiment in Maharashtra involving outfits with diverse ideologies, will be led by the Sena, leaders in the Uddhav Thackeray-party and the NCP said, settling the contentious leadership issue that resulted in the unravelling of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance.
The three parties on Thursday prepared a draft common minimum programme (CMP) that will guide their fledgling coalition's agenda, where politics has broadly revolved around the BJP-Sena and Congress-NCP blocs in the last two decades.
Coalition govt will complete 5 years: Pawar
File photo of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday stated that a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will be formed and it will complete a five-year term, ruling out the possibility of mid-term polls in the state currently under President’s Rule.
Speaking to reporters in Nagpur, Pawar said the three parties want to form a stable government which will be development-oriented. “There is no possibility of mid-term polls. This government will be formed and it will complete five years. We all will ensure this government runs for five years,” Pawar said.
Asked whether the BJP was holding discussion with the NCP over government formation in the state, the former Union minister said his party was holding talks with only the Sena, the Congress and other allies.
Pawar also weighed in on how the Opposition alliance of Congress and NCP will form a coalition with the Shiv Sena, which espouses Hindutva as one of its principles. He said, "...But it is true, the Congress or NCP always talk about secularism. We are not against Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism. But we are the people who insist on secularism when it comes to running a government. I don't know yet what was the discussion among our allies on this issue," he said.
The former Union agriculture minister, who visited some villages in the district to assess the damage caused to crops due to untimely rains, said he will raise the issue of assistance to farmers before the Centre.
'CM's post to be given to Shiv Sena'
Meanwhile, Pawar's colleague and NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the chief minister's post will go to the Shiv Sena. "The chief minister will be from the Shiv Sena. It walked away from the 'Mahayuti' (grand alliance) on the issue of the chief minister's post. It is our responsibility to respect its sentiment," Malik said.
However, Pawar remained non-committal on the topic of who will be named as the chief minister. "If someone asks for the chief minister's post, then we will think about it," NCP chief said.
Malik was also quoted by reports as saying that a government is likely to be formed in 20 days. He further said that a final decision on government formation will be taken after the meeting between Sonia Gandhi and Pawar on 17 November.
Parties to meet Maharashtra guv tomorrow
The three parties are also likely to meet Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday to discuss the ‘wet drought’ facing the state’s farmers.
Malik was quoted by News18 India as dismissing the media reports that suggested that the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena will stake claim to form government in their meeting with Koshyari on Saturday.
He said, "Yes, we are going to meet the governor tomorrow. But any reportage suggesting that it is to stake a claim for government formation is false. We are meeting the governor because the administration of Maharashtra is at a standstill since the imposition of President's Rule.
“Several applications for funds from chief minister's relief funds are pending. Farmers are suffering. So we will meet government to discuss on these issues.”
Devendra Fadnavis, former Maharashtra chief minister, on Friday called on Koshyari and urged him to release funds for the farmers affected by unseasonal rains.
Fadnavis also sought reopening and smooth functioning of the CM Relief Fund through the governor's office to ensure timely help for needy persons as the state was currently under President's Rule. He claimed that the governor had accepted both his demands.
'Shiv Sena will lead Maharashtra for 25 years'
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that Maharashtra's next government will be led by his party, and that the CMP — which is to be forwarded to the high commands of all three parties — will be in the "state's interest".
The Uddhav Thackeray-headed saffron party will lead the government in Maharashtra for the next "25 years" and not just five years, Raut claimed. The Rajya Sabha MP was responding to questions on whether his party will share the chief minister's post with the NCP and the Congress.
"Talks are on with the Congress and the NCP to work out a common minimum programme which will be in the interest of the state and its people," he said. "Whether it is a single party government or an alliance, an agenda for governance is necessary. There are infrastructure projects to be taken forward, (and issues related to) drought, unseasonal rains (are to be tackled).
"Those joining us are experienced administrators. We will benefit from their experience," he said. Regarding the alliance with the Congress, the Sena's political rival till recently, Raut said leaders of the country's oldest party have contributed to freedom struggle as well as the development of Maharashtra.
Asked if the Sena, post tie-up with the Congress-NCP, will give up its demand for the Bharat Ratna for Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar and accept Muslim reservation, Raut evaded a direct reply and said, "We know the source of such speculation."
Asked how the Sena, a party identified with Hindutva politics and "anti-Congressism", will adjust with a partner like the Congress, he said, "What is ideology? We are working on a common minimum programme for the state's welfare.
"(Former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee headed an alliance of parties who came together on a common minimum programme. In Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar had led a Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) government (1978-80) of which the Jan Sangh, the BJP's earlier avatar, was a part. There have been instances earlier where parties of different ideologies have come together," he said, justifying the Sena's efforts to cobble up a ruling coalition with the Congress and the NCP, against whom the Sena fought the Assembly polls in October.
Draft CMP focuses on agrarian crisis, unemployment
The draft CMP focuses on farmers and measures to tackle unemployment, a senior Congress leader was quoted as saying by PTI. The politician, who did not wish to be named, said "Inclusive development and justice to all sections of the society is the criteria on which we will work if the CMP is approved by the leadership of all three parties."
Pawar is expected to meet Sonia, the Congress interim president on 17 November in New Delhi where a final decision on government formation is likely to be taken.
The Sena reached out to the Congress-NCP combine for government formation after its demand for sharing the chief minister's post and equal distribution of portfolios was rejected by the BJP, its pre-poll ally.
The BJP and the Sena, which fought the 21 October polls in alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member Assembly, where the majority mark is 145.
The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats, respectively. President's Rule was imposed in the state on Tuesday after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari sent a report to the Centre, stating that formation of a stable government was impossible in the current political situation.
BJP leaders to meet
Amid the slew of meetings between the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress to hash out a coalition government, Fadnavis and state BJP chief Chandrakant Dada Patil were reportedly scheduled to hold a meeting with all party leaders in Mumbai on Friday.
"From district to booth leaders, MPs and MLAs, all will attend the meeting," BJP MLA from Bandra West Ashish Shelar was quoted as saying by ANI. He also said that the party will be reaching out to 90,000 booths of the BJP in order to strengthen them. The party's MLAs and MPs will be meeting farmers to provide them immediate relief, he added.
Shelar also hit out at Raut for his remark that BJP president Amit Shah did not inform Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the Sena-BJP's 50:50 formula, which was decided for the Assembly polls in Maharashtra. "Amit Shah, Narendra Modi and Devendra Fadnavis have similar working styles and they all work together. They (Sena) say something to create conflict between Thackeray and Modi. But everyone can see on their televisions in the morning as to who is trying to create conflict," BJP MLA said.
"However, I want to tell him that he will not be successful. Also, Sanjay Raut needs to take several births to understand Modi and Shah. He should think twice before saying anything about the two," he said.
Union minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari also commented on the political scenario in the state on Friday and, likening politics to cricket, said that "anything" could happen in both these fields as those who appear to be losing the match might actually win the game.
With inputs from agencies