Did not discuss govt formation, says Pawar after meeting Sonia

Sharad Pawar, Sonia Gandhi
NCP chief Sharad Pawar addresses a press conference after a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi | PTI Photo

NCP chief Sharad Pawar met Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Monday (November 18), during which, the former said no talks were held on the issue of government formation in Maharashtra. Pawar said he briefed Gandhi about the political situation in the state during the meeting.

Maharashtra, which is currently under the President’s rule, has been witnessing a political stalemate since assembly poll results were declared on October 24. Following the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance fallout, the regional party began talks with the Congress and the NCP to decide on a common minimum programme for a possible alliance for forming government in the state.

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Pawar met Gandhi on Monday in this connection, however, he said that the two did not discuss the issue of government formation. The meeting took place at Gandhi’s 10, Janpath residence in New Delhi and lasted for about 50 minutes.

“We discussed in detail the political situation in Maharashtra. We will keep an eye on the situation in Maharashtra. Congress and NCP leaders will hold further talks on the future course of action,” he told a press conference after the meeting.

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Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a tweet said, “Sharad Pawar met the Congress President today and briefed her on the situation in Maharashtra. It was decided that in a day or two, representatives from NCP and Congress will meet in Delhi to discuss the way forward.”

Congress and NCP leaders have held a series of meetings in the last few days to finalise modalities for a Sena-led government in Maharashtra. Ahead of his meeting with Gandhi, Pawar said all political parties seeking to stake claim to form government in Maharashtra had to “choose their own paths”.

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Maharashtra was placed under the President’s rule on November 12 after no party or alliance staked claim to form government in the state. The Pawar-Gandhi meeting comes a day after the NCP’s core committee in Pune resolved that President’s rule should end and an “alternative government” be formed in Maharashtra.

In the October 21 Maharashtra polls, the BJP-Sena saffron alliance had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively in the 288-member Assembly. The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, had won 44 and 54 seats respectively.

(With inputs from agencies)