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No Decision Yet on Supporting Sena in Maharashtra, Reiterate NCP and Congress as Impasse Continues

At a joint press conference with Congress leaders, NCP president Sharad Pawar said the two parties will discuss and evolve a consensus on what should be the policies and programs if the Shiv Sena was to be supported.


Updated:November 13, 2019, 8:37 AM IST
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No Decision Yet on Supporting Sena in Maharashtra, Reiterate NCP and Congress as Impasse Continues
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Mallikarjun Kharge in Mumbai on Tuesday. (PTI)

New Delhi: Allies Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday appeared to be treading cautiously over forging ties with the Shiv Sena, saying they were yet to take a call on backing it to form the government in Maharashtra but will hold further discussions.

"Clarification on all issues" was necessary before the decision was taken, they said.

At a joint press conference with Congress leaders, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the two parties will discuss and evolve a consensus on what should be the policies and programs if the Sena was to be supported.

The press conference was attended by senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and KC Venugopal -- deputed by party president Sonia Gandhi to hold further talks with the NCP on the issue.

Patel also condemned Maharashtra Governor and Centre's decision to recommend President's rule in the state, accusing them of mocking democracy and Constitution. He questioned the Governor for not inviting the Congress to stake claim to form government after the BJP, Sena and NCP were called.

The joint statement issued by the Congress and the NCP said, "The Shiv Sena approached the Congress and NCP formally for the first time on 11.11.2019. It was imperative that there is clarification on all issues before such an important decision is taken. There is a need for detailed discussion on these aspects. The future policy will be decided after the two parties reach consensus on it.”

Pawar said the Congress and NCP leaders discussed the nitty-gritty of a possible common minimum programme (CMP) during the meeting. He said Sena president Uddhav Thackeray met him, seeking support, only on Monday.

"We have not yet started discussion about the common minimum programme," Pawar said, adding that power distribution among the three parties was not being discussed at the moment.

The Congress and NCP will first hold parleys on whether they want to form government, what will be the common grounds in case they want to, and what should be the policy of such a government, he said.

"Only after (working out) that will the issue of sharing power may come up for discussion," he said.

Asked whether the Congress and NCP leaders will hold meetings with Thackeray, Pawar sarcastically said the two allies were "not in a hurry", as the Governor has given them a "lot of time", referring to the imposition of President's rule.

When asked why could not the Congress take any decision on Monday on Sena's overtures, Patel said, "They (the Shiv Sena) contested the election as an ally of

BJP. We contested the election together. So how can we reach that decision until we have between us clarity on certain issues, common minimum programme and other issues?"

The Congress could not take any decision without consulting its ally, and the discussion on common minimum programme was very important, he added.

Patel also said that the NCP demanded that Governor give it more time to stake claim to form government, but the demand was not accepted.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had invited the NCP, third largest party in the state, to express willingness and ability to form government on Monday evening and given it time till 8.30 pm on Tuesday.

Patel said the two parties will hold discussions with the Sena only after they reach a consensus on "certain points".

Asked when the three parties could stake claim to form the government, Patel said, "We will hold discussion with our ally and then will clarify issues with the Shiv Sena and after that...We will try to make it happen as soon as possible."

The Sena on Monday suffered a setback in its efforts to cobble up a non-BJP government in Maharashtra with the Congress at the last moment announcing its decision to hold more talks with ally NCP on supporting the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.

Koshyari on Tuesday sent a report to the Centre, recommending President's rule in the state which is facing a political impasse since the Assembly poll results of October 24, following which President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra.

(With inputs from agencies)

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