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Congress, NCP hint at alliance with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, will drive a hard bargain

Congress and NCP say they will first discuss a common minimum programme between themselves, before taking it up with the Shiv Sena.

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Mumbai: The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) suggested Tuesday that they were not averse to joining hands with the Shiv Sena to form the government in Maharashtra, provided all parties agree on modalities and a common minimum programme (CMP).

After a meeting between leaders of both parties, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and NCP chief Sharad Pawar said they would first discuss the CMP between them before discussing it with the Sena.

It’s a significant move on the part of the Congress, as interim president Sonia Gandhi was said to have strong reservations against such an alliance, given the Sena’s aggressive Hindutva and nativist ideology, hyper-nationalism, and its controversial actions and statements.

Though Patel and Pawar maintained that they were yet to take a call on forming a government with the Sena, the fact that the parties didn’t rule out such a possibility and were preparing to discuss a CMP with the Sena at a later stage suggested a climbdown by the Congress vis-à-vis its ideological adversary in Maharashtra.

In a separate press conference, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said though the parties had different ideologies, “we will find ways to work together”.

“What’s the hurry? The governor has given us six months,” said Thackeray, referring to the imposition of the President’s Rule Tuesday afternoon.

Also read: As Shiv Sena moves SC, a look at how top court has dealt with governors’ decisions

Hard bargaining

As for the modalities, the NCP is likely to demand rotational chief ministership as the Sena had demanded from the BJP, whose refusal led to the split between the pre-poll allies.

The coming days are also likely to witness hard bargaining among the three stakeholders over the distribution of portfolios.

At the press conference, Pawar said the first decision they have to take is whether to form the government or not, and what would be the issues that need to be sorted out.

“There are some issues that have to be discussed between us (Congress and NCP). Once we clear that, we will then make a decision on supporting the Sena and issues like the common minimum programme will be after that,” Pawar said.

When asked about the ideological differences between the parties, Pawar said they have not reached that stage yet.

Asked how long the entire process will take before they stake claim to form the government, Pawar sarcastically replied that the governor has given them a lot of time, so there is no need to hurry.

Wrong of governor not to invite Congress, says Patel

Patel, meanwhile, said the Congress and NCP have not committed any support to the Shiv Sena as of now. “We have not taken any decision so far,” he said.

In a joint statement, the two parties said: “Today Congress and NCP had a discussion on current political scenario. Shiv Sena had contacted us on 11.11 (Monday) officially. There is a need for clarity on several issues.”

Patel also condemned the decision to impose President’s Rule.

“They first invited the BJP, then the Sena, and later the NCP, but the Congress was not invited by the governor. This is wrong,” he said.

Patel, a Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, said though Thackeray had called and sought support from the Congress, Sonia Gandhi wanted to discuss it with Pawar first as they had a pre-poll alliance.

The Congress leader also said there are some issues that still need to be dealt with, and therefore, a team of Congress leaders were sent to Mumbai by Gandhi to hold further discussions.

“Before taking such an important decision, it was important to have clarity on a lot of issues. She asked us to leave for Mumbai as we couldn’t have taken any decision before consulting with the NCP,” Patel said.

Also read: Collapse of Shiv Sena’s alliance with BJP threatens its control over cash-rich BMC


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  1. 1. Still BMC split is pending. UPA to force SS to split f om BMC also before assembly tie up

    2. There will be 33:33:33 split in CM post

    3. First rotation of CM post to go to weakest party in alliance… As per Mahatma Talisman Formula

  2. Don’t push the envelope. The Tiger is an agile beast. It might just return to its old partner. One third would be on offer in either case.

      • He may be right. Thackeray has left door open to return to old ally BJP. “Keeping the door open for reconciliation, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday refused to acknowledge that his party has severed all ties with its pre-poll ally, the BJP. When asked by a reporter “is the BJP option completely finished”, Thackeray said:”Why are you in such a hurry? It’s politics. President has given us six months time.”

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