Cong-NCP-Sena talks on, but Pawar-PM meet raises eyebrows

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and others during a meeting regarding government formation in Maharashtra, at Pawar's residence in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: PTI

Talks for the formation of a Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress government in Maharashtra may be in the final phase, but Sharad Pawar’s meeting with Modi on Wednesday has set tongues wagging.

“Due to President’s rule in the state, your urgent intervention is highly necessitated. I shall be grateful if you could take immediate steps to initiate massive relief measures to ameliorate distressed farmers,” read the three-page memorandum given by Pawar to Modi. However, there were few takers for Pawar’s emphatic denial of any political discussion having taken place during his meeting with the prime minister.

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The meeting between the Maratha strongman and Modi at the PM’s chamber in Parliament took place amid talks between the NCP, the Congress and the Shiv Sena for an alliance.

Meanwhile, talking to reporters, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut exuded confidence that a government led by his party will be in place in the state by next month. He said the picture of the government formation in the state will become clear in the next two days. “We are inching towards the government formation. The picture will become clear in the next two days and a popular government led by the Shiv Sena will be in place by December,” he said.

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Implying that the Shiv Sena and Congress have almost completed their discussions on the government formation in the state, Raut said there will be a “full stop to it soon.”

Continuing their discussions, NCP and Congress leaders met at Pawar’s residence in Delhi in the evening to discuss the prospects of joining hands with BJP’s long-time allay Shiv Sena.

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Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh, Mallikarjun Kharge, Prithviraj Chavan, K C Venugopal and Balasaheb Thorat attended the meeting. NCP leaders Supriya Sule, Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil and Nawab Malik were also present.

Meanwhile, amid ongoing parleys between the NCP and Congress, the Shiv Sena has called a meeting of all its MLAs and senior leaders in Mumbai on November 22, a party leader said.

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Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will address the meeting which is expected to deliberate on the party’s line of action in the backdrop of the three main non-BJP parties making efforts to form government in Maharashtra.

Results of the October 21 Assembly polls were declared on October 24 and President’s rule was imposed in the state on November 12 after no party or combine staked claim to form the new government.

(With inputs from agencies)