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Shiv Sena, NCP ask Congress to join govt to make anti-BJP axis stable

Some senior Sena leaders are likely to reach Delhi to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to press for the request. While Pawar made the request to the Ahmed Patel-led AICC delegation on Tuesday, senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut too made his party’s re...

, ET Bureau|
Nov 14, 2019, 07.23 AM IST
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Uddhav Thackeray
Even as hectic bargaining on the power-sharing formula was on the basic presumption that Sena would lead the government, Raut said his party chief Uddhav Thackeray was the party’s natural leader for CM.
Even as Shiv Sena and NCP-Congress combine accelerated efforts to reach an agreement on forming a government in Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar and the Sena leadership have requested Congress to join the coalition than merely extending support, sources said. They are learnt to have argued that Congress participation “is important to provide stability” to the ‘anti-BJP’ government in Maharashtra following the break-up of the saffron alliance.

Some senior Sena leaders are likely to reach Delhi to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to press for the request. While Pawar made the request to the Ahmed Patel-led AICC delegation on Tuesday, senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut too made his party’s request when PCC chief Balasaheb Thorat and ex-CM Ashok Chavan met him on Wednesday, following which the duo held talks with Uddhav Thackeray.

Even as hectic bargaining on the power-sharing formula was on the basic presumption that Sena would lead the government, Raut said his party chief Uddhav Thackeray was the party’s natural leader for CM. “As we are working to install a Shiv Sena-led NCP-Congress partnered government, I feel, Uddhav Thackeray, being the topmost leader and face of our party, is the ideal choice for becoming the CM as it will lend additional credibility to the coalition,” Raut told ET after talks with Congress and NCP representatives in Mumbai on Wednesday.

While Sena had projected Aditya Thackeray as CM candidate during campaigning with estranged ally BJP, Raut’s new proposal is significant. It is debatable whether it is because Aditya is junior to many leaders in Sena, NCP and Congress or whether Sena leadership is conscious of the unpleasant lessons Matoshree learnt after Bal Thackeray handed over the CM’s post to Manohar Joshi and Narayan Rane in the 1990s.

NCP will move to seal the deal only when Sena agrees to Pawar’s demand for a larger share of portfolios, including home and revenue, besides the post of deputy CM and a rotational CM between Sena and NCP. Maharashtra can have up to 42 ministerial berths.

The representatives of the three parties started discussions on the contours of power-sharing and common minimum programme, with focus on ‘allround development and progress of Maharashtra’ to be the ringtone of the coalition. Congress, like NCP, is also keen that the CMP must not have contentious planks of the Sena.

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