Maharashtra, BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress, NCP
Even as NCP leader Sharad Pawar is slated to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on government formation in Maharashtra, several Congress leaders are against an alliance between the Congress-NCP combine and the Shiv Sena

Maharashtra power tussle: Flurry of activity to break impasse

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Amid the exchange of barbs between the warring BJP and the Shiv Sena and a flurry of backdoor meetings and negotiations, the BJP, the NCP, the Shiv Sena and the Congress are slated to hold a series of high-level meetings, on Monday (November 4) to arrive at a solution to break the impasse over government formation in Maharashtra.

While Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar is slated to visit Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the national capital on Monday. Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut is also expected to meet Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari which he terms a “courtesy call”.

“It will be a courtesy meet and not political. I am going to talk to the governor on various issues. We will also inform him about our stand,” he told reporters on Monday morning.

Amid the impasse, the Sena also appeared to have reached out to the NCP as its senior leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday disclosed to reporters a message sent to him by Raut.

The message read: “Namaskar mi Sanjay Raut. Jai Maharashtra.”

Pawar on Sunday (November 3) had met senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut while having a telephonic chat with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, heightening speculations of an alliance between the NCP and the Sena. Although both the parties haven’t revealed the contents of the discussion, the NCP is yet to take a stand on the Sena’s reported offer as it has to discuss the terms with its ally – the Congress with whom it contested the Assembly polls.

Reacting to it, Pawar said, “This means I should call him. I will call and check.”

“Only one party can’t make the decision,” media reports had quoted NCP leader Ajit Pawar as saying during the weekend.

Many have commented that the huge ideological gap between the NCP and the Shiv Sena may rule out any possibility of an alliance between the two parties. Many Congress leaders have alleged that the Sena is just trying to get a better deal from the BJP by stretching the matter. NCP’s earlier stand that it will sit in the Opposition and not the treasury benches, also hints at its reluctance to join hands with the Shiv Sena.

Several Congress leaders like Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam have also come down heavily on the Sena for using the Congress in their “drama” to wrest more power.

Reports said that Fadnavis, who met Shah to discuss strategies on government formation in the state also wanted counsel on the allocation of aid from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) to farmers affected by unseasonal rains in Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, Raut on Sunday had said that his party would soon have its chief minister with the support of “170 MLAs”. He had also clarified that the Sena is willing to talk to the BJP only if the discussion is centred on sharing the chief minister’s post.

In the recent polls to the 288-member Assembly, the BJP won 105 seats, while its ally Shiv Sena won 56. The NCP won 54 seats and the Congress bagged 44.

(With inputs from agencies)

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