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Maharashtra Govt Formation Hinges on Pawar-Sonia Sunday Meet

Amey Tirodkar |
Top state leaders expect the whole process to be completed by end of next week, and the swearing-in by November 20-25. 

Image Courtesy: NDTV

Mumbai: While Maharashtra is under President’s Rule, three principal political parties have joined hands in a new formation to keep the BJP out of power. Shiv Sena, which was part of a pre-poll alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as well as a partner in the National Democratic Alliance that rules the Centre, has severed its over decade-old alliance with BJP. It wishes to form government in state with its Chief Minister. So, now all eyes are on Sunday’s crucial meeting between master strategist Sharad Pawar, the supremo of Nationalist Congress party (NCP) and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. 

Both Pawar and Sonia Gandhi are slated to trash out the pros and cons of government formation with the Right-Wing Sena, as well as go through the draft of common minimum programme (CMP, which was finalised recently.

However, the most important issue that needs to be tackled in the new formations is the sharing of power as well as allocation of portfolios. By now, it is clear that Sena will most likely get the chief minister’s post for five years. NCP is keen to get the Deputy CM’s post, while the Congress, too, is keen on the same post. So, the final call now is left to Sonia Gandhi, state party leaders say. Congress-NCP also reportedly want some plum ministries.

Sources told NewsClick that right now a formula has been discussed at an unofficial level among second rank leaders of all three parties. They have categorised the departments according to budget allocation and political importance. They have put each of the three departments of similar importance in one line, so that each party may negotiate and pick one in those three. "This would make the process easy and fast to have all stakeholders satisfied," said senior NCP leader on condition of anonymity. 

Sonia Gandhi will also raise ideological issues that could pop up in future with Sena and may ask Pawar to ensure that the former BJP ally does not take any extreme positions.

Once the Pawar-Sonia meeting clears the proposed formula to form a government, Congress's general secretary and other senior leaders will fly to Mumbai to have negotiations with Sena. Leaders expect the whole process to be completed by end of next week, so that around November 20-25, the swearing in ceremony could be held in Mumbai. 

Sena Alleges BJP Has ‘Horse Trading’ Agenda

Meanwihle, in an editorial in its mouthpiece, Saamna, the Shiv Sena alleged that BJP now “exuding confidence” of forming a government in Maharashtra after backing off initially, was indicative of its agenda of indulging in horse-trading under the guise of President's Rule.

"...the intention of horse-trading stand exposed now. The lies of those promising transparent governance are becoming evident now," it said, adding that "unethical" ways do not suit the tradition of the state.

The political impasse in Maharashtra began soon after the outcome of the Assembly poll results, wherein pre-poll allies BJP and Sena secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member House. The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats, respectively.

However, due to differences over power sharing with BJP, the Sena walked out of its 35-year-old alliance with BJP, as well as from the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre.

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