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16-15-12 Cabinet Berth Formula, Speaker’s Post & Polls: Contours of Congress-NCP Alliance With Sena

The Sena and BJP had contested the October Assembly polls together and jointly won 161 seats, before Uddhav's party started insisting on equal sharing of the chief ministerial tenure that led to acrimony and stalemate in government formation.

News18.com

Updated:November 20, 2019, 3:46 PM IST
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16-15-12 Cabinet Berth Formula, Speaker’s Post & Polls: Contours of Congress-NCP Alliance With Sena
(From Left) Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray and Sonia Gandhi.

Mumbai: Almost a month after the results of the Maharashtra elections were declared, there has been no let-up in the political logjam in the state. Separated by a bitter divorce, the BJP and the Shiv Sena have been embroiled in a war of words as the Uddhav Thackeray-led party cosies up to the NCP and Congress to cobble together an alliance in the state that has been under President’s Rule since November 12.

Amid the deadlock, all eyes are now on a meeting between the NCP and Congress on Wednesday where the allies will give final shape to a proposed alliance with an ideologically opposed Sena. The crux of the agreement rests on the power-sharing formula and according to sources, the parties are in talks to arrive at a consensus on 16-15-12 cabinet berth formula, which includes the chief minister’s chair for the Sena — a demand over which it fell out with its Hindutva ally BJP.

According to sources, the formula essentially means 16 berths for the Sena; 15 ministers from the NCP and 12 from the Congress. They added that the NCP wants to share the chief minister’s post with the Sena for 2.5 years each, a demand reportedly agreed to by Uddhav Thackeray’s party. So far as the deputy CM post is concerned, it would go to the Congress and NCP both or solely to the grand old party.

The discussion will also try to thresh out the issue of the Speaker’s post for which both Congress and NCP are contenders. The role to be played by smaller parties and the need to take them into confidence will also be among key points in focus.

Apart from the power-sharing formula, the parties will also have to come up with an understanding on contesting elections together. The NCP and Congress are already in an alliance and it would be interesting to note how the entry of the Sena — which till recently fought the elections against the two parties — changes the power balance.

Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel and party general secretary KC Venugopal besides some state leaders and Praful Patel, Sunil Tatkare, Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil of the NCP are to meet to explore the possibility of an alliance with the Shiv Sena in the state.

The Sena and BJP had contested the October Assembly polls together and jointly won 161 seats, before Uddhav's party started insisting on equal sharing of the chief ministerial tenure that led to acrimony and stalemate in government formation. Following weeks of bitter political drama, the Sena is currently in the process of forming a non-BJP government with support from Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.

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