Mumbai: Till Monday morning, the Congress leadership was telling Shiv Sena to quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) first and then it will extend support of its MLAs. But on Monday evening, even after Sena's lone minister resigned from Union cabinet, Congress didn't declare its support to Sena. It issued a letter saying that “further discussion will be held with NCP chief Sharad Pawar”.
This created trust deficit among all three principal parties -- Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress -- even before they officially joined hands. But again, the maker of this alliance of two wide part poles, Sharad Pawar intervened in the matter.
When Governor Bhagatsingh Koshyari refused to give more time to Sena to stake claim for government formation and invited NCP to discuss the possibility, it was Pawar who himself called Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and informed him about the invitation. Highly placed sources told NewsClick that Pawar told Uddhav to not worry and that the delay won't damage the prospects of their coming together.
Congress wants clarity on two things before giving letters of support to Shiv Sena. First is the common minimum programme for the new alliance. Second is the power-sharing formula. There are total 42 ministerial berths. Congress reportedly wants clarity on how many berths the party will get and how many will go to Sena and NCP.
Discussions on these two issues will take place between two senior leaders of a Congress from Delhi, leaders of NCP and Sena in Maharashtra. Ahmed Patel, Congress treasurer and Mallikarjun Kharge, in charge of Maharashtra Congress are in Mumbai to hold further talks.
This story will be updated through the day.