After a meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday queered the pitch for the Shiv Sena in formation of a new government in Maharashtra, saying this issue was not discussed and remained non-committal in forging an alliance with its political rival.
As the deadlock over the government formation entered the 26th day with no signs of an early resolution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set tongues wagging when he praised the NCP, the Congress’ prepoll ally, in the Rajya Sabha (RS) for strictly “adhering to parliamentary norms”. Maharashtra is currently under President’s rule.
Addressing the RS on the occasion of its 250th session, Modi said, “Today I want to appreciate two parties, NCP and Biju Janata Dal (BJD). These parties have strictly adhered to parliamentary norms.” The BJD headed by Naveen Patnaik is the ruling party in Odisha.
Modi said the members of the two parties never rush to the Well of the House to raise their issues and yet highlight their points effectively.
Keeping his cards close to his chest, Pawar said he only discussed the political situation in Maharashtra with Sonia Gandhi and that the NCP and the Congress will hold talks with their other allies before taking a decision on government formation.
Pawar, whose meeting with Gandhi at her residence in Delhi was being billed as a major step towards a possible tie-up with the Shiv Sena, said if the NCP and the Congress have to take a view on forming a new government they have to first discuss it between themselves.
Addressing a press conference after his 50 minute-long meeting with Gandhi, he also said there was also no discussion on a common minimum programme.
“There was no talk of government formation in our meeting. This meeting was all about discussing Congress and NCP and the situation in the state,” Pawar said.
“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 added.
The Congress for its part took to Twitter to say that the representatives of the prepoll allies will meet in Delhi to discuss the way forward.
“Sharad Pawar met the Congress president on Monday 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 Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet.
Ahead of his meeting with Gandhi, Pawar said all political parties seeking to stake claim to form the government had to “choose their own paths”. Pawar evaded a direct reply when asked by reporters if he would rule out the NCP supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in forming the government and pointed out that the BJP was his party’s major opponent in the Assembly polls.