NCP’s senior leaders on Sunday met in Mumbai and discussed government formation (File)


Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar will meet today to explore the feasibility of forming a coalition government with ideologically opposite Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, days after a rift between the BJP and Sena over the Chief Minister’s post led to the imposition of President’s rule in the state.

Mr Pawar on Saturday said the three parties will form government and complete a full term. Hours after his announcement, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had said discussion over government formation would be taken forward at a meeting between Mr Pawar and Mrs Gandhi.

NCP’s senior leaders on Sunday met in Mumbai and discussed government formation.

“We had had a discussion over the current political situation in the state, and we have come to the conclusion that the President’s rule should end and an alternative government should be formed,” NCP leader Nawab Malik was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.

“Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi will meet on Monday and discuss the possibility of the formation of an alternative government in Maharashtra,” he added.

A meeting between the Congress and Shiv Sena leaders will also take place, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan informed on Sunday. “We will find out if we can go ahead or not,” he said.

The Shiv Sena and BJP had contested the Maharashtra Assembly election as allies and won a comfortable majority. On the day of the election results, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had reminded BJP president Amit Shah of his “50:50” promise. The BJP had disagreed and claimed there was no such deal.

After weeks of standoff, the BJP, which was called by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to stake claim, said it didn’t have the strength to form government in Maharashtra.

On November 12, after no party approached to stake claim, the Governor announced the President’s rule.

The Shiv Sena, which had been insisting it had the number to form government without BJP’s help, later reached out to the Congress and NCP to stitch a post-poll partnership.

The BJP and Shiv Sena have not officially clarified status of their alliance at the centre. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party, however, had pulled out its only union minister from the Modi government.

With inputs from PTI

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