Ending days of speculation, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress leaders on Wednesday said the two allies, along with the Shiv Sena, will soon stake claim to form a coalition government in Maharashtra.
“There cannot be any government in Maharashtra without the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress. We are trying our best to resolve issues,” NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, adding the parties will provide a stable government.
Malik and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan jointly addressed the media in the national capital after a meeting of the leaders of their two parties at the residence of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Chavan said the talks will continue. The Sena’s top leadership is set to be in New Delhi later this week for the final round of talks.
According to sources, a common minimum programme is all but finalised. The three parties have agreed that the chief minister’s (CM’s) post will be rotational, to be shared between the Sena and NCP. The Sena nominee will get the first shot at the CM’s post. Sources said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray could be the first CM.
There will also be two deputy CMs, with the Congress getting one of these for the entire five-year tenure of the government, and the other going to the NCP for the first 2.5 years.
The Sena is set to have a meeting with its legislators in Mumbai on Friday. Congress leaders separately met Sena’s Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut, who said in the evening that negotiations would be over in two to five days.
Earlier in the day, Pawar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament “to discuss farmers’ distress in Maharashtra”. “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,” said the three-page memorandum given by Pawar to Modi.
Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh, Mallikarjun Kharge, Prithviraj Chavan, K C Venugopal, and Balasaheb Thorat attended the meeting at Pawar’s residence in the evening. NCP leaders Supriya Sule, Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil, and Nawab Malik were also present.