As one of the most financially influential states in the country recently plunged into political uncertainty leading to President’s Rule in Maharashtra, new alignments being attempted by ideologically contrasting parties might materialise soon.
The next Maharashtra government, to be formed by the coming together of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena and the Congress, will complete a full term, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said today.
The critics-turned-allies appeared to have agreed on a minimum agenda for the formation of a government in Maharashtra and senior leaders of the three parties have fixed a joint meeting with the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday.
The soon-to-be partners had met on Thursday to iron out any differences to reach a common ground.
“This government will be formed and it will complete five years. We all will ensure this government runs for five years,” said Sharad Pawar, as he dismissed any possibility of mid-term polls in the state.
Taking a dig at former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ remark that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will not survive for more than six months, the veteran politician quipped, “I have known Devendra ji for some years now. But I did not know he is a student of astrology too.”
Pawar also joked about Fadnavis’ “I will return” remark and said, “I was thinking something else all the while: I will come again, I will come again, I will come again. Now, you (the reporter) are giving some other information.”
While reports suggest that Sharad Pawar, a former Maharashra chief minister, is believed to have called for rotational chief ministership as a condition for partnering, the Shiv Sena is reportedly insisting on having the chief minister’s post for the entire term.
“If anybody demands the chief minister’s post, we will think about it,” Mr Pawar said.
Sources close to the top leaders say that an arrangement is being discussed wherein the Sena will get the CM’s post for full five years and the Congress-NCP will have to settle for the Deputy CM, portfolios in the ratio of Sena and NCP 14 each, and Congress 12 plus the post of Legislative Assembly Speaker.
Another NCP leader, Nawab Mallik, indicated that the Sena may get its wish. “On this issue, the Sena separated from the BJP. Taking care of their prestige is our job. Chief Minister will be theirs,” said the NCP leader.
But Malik refused to confirm reports that the Shiv Sena would have chief ministership for the entire five years and the NCP and Congress would share deputy chief ministership.
“Talks are still on,” he said, adding, “There are no controversial issues in the draft.”
Pawar is expected to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in Delhi and brief her on the deliberations with the Sena and decide on the further course of action.