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Congress to sit in opposition in Maharashtra, reaffirms Kharge after meeting party’s MLAs

NCP chief Sharad Pawar also held a meeting with his party leaders and said he'll react to Congress' decision after it officially informs him.

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Mumbai: Congress general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday met the party’s newly elected MLAs from Maharashtra, who are staying at a resort in Jaipur, to discuss the political situation in the state while NCP chief Sharad Pawar met some of his party leaders in Mumbai.

Later talking to reporters in Jaipur, Kharge reiterated his party’s stand of sitting in the opposition in Maharashtra, while Pawar said he would react only to an official statement from the Sonia Gandhi-led party.

“We have not changed our stand from day one. We have always maintained that we will sit in the opposition and respect the mandate,” Kharge said after meeting the Maharashtra Congress MLAs in Jaipur.

Former Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam here said “it seems the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has broken”, and that he would urge his party leadership not to encourage government formation with the Sena’s help as it will “not be a stable government” and both the Congress and NCP will suffer.Earlier, senior Congress leader Manikrao Thakare told PTI that Kharge met the MLAs informally to ascertain their views on what stand the party should take over government formation in Maharashtra.

“Kharge will then convey the sentiments of the legislators to the party leadership,” Thakare said.

Also read: Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut uses Hitler reference to hit out at Devendra Fadnavis

All 44 newly elected Maharashtra Congress MLAs, including senior leaders like Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat, were staying at a resort in the Congress-ruled Rajasthan amid fear of ‘poaching’ in view of the stalemate over government formation.

A senior Congress leader, on condition of anonymity, said the All India Congress Committee (AICC) has deputed two observers to hold discussions with the MLAs inJaipur on what stand the party should take in view of the impasse on government formation.

“The Congress has to decide if it wants to stop the BJP in Maharashtra or whether it doesn’t care if the BJP is able to form a government. An alternative government can be formed only with Congress’ support,” he said.

He also said that Kharge held informal talks with the Maharashtra Congress MLAs in Jaipur in the morning.

He also brushed aside suggestions that the governor could invite the Congress-NCP for government formation as the ‘second largest’ alliance, claiming no such provision existed in the Sarkaraia Commission’s recommendations.

In another development, NCP chief Sharad Pawar also held a meeting with some of his party leaders in Mumbai.

Refusing to speak on a “non-BJP alliance”, Pawar said he would react only to Congress’ official statement.

“I cannot go by news reports about the decision of the Congress. I will react only when the Congress officially informs me about its decision,” Pawar told reporters.

Meanwhile, Nirupam reiterated his party’s stand of not being in favour of entering into an alliance with the Shiv Sena.

“The mandate is for the BJP-Sena (to form government) and for the Congress-NCP to sit in the opposition,” he told reporters here.

“It looks like the BJP-Sena alliance has broken. There have been talks that the Shiv Sena and NCP may join hands to stake claim for the government. I feel respect to the mandate is not indulging in government formation exercise,” he said.

“I will pursue with our central leadership to not encourage formation of a government in Maharashtra with the help of the Shiv Sena. It will not be a stable government and ultimately both the Congress and NCP will suffer,” said Nirupam, who was a Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member before joining the Congress.

The BJP and its ally Shiv Sena are locked in a bitter tussle over the chief minister’s post.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday asked the BJP, the single largest party in the new Assembly, to “indicate the willingness and ability” to form government in the state.

In the October 21 polls to the 288-member state Assembly, the BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena-56, NCP-54 and Congress-44.

Also read: Why Nitin Gadkari could be the answer to BJP-Sena stalemate in Maharashtra


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  1. I this position CONG and NCP should not support SS, try to go for reelections, see now BJP cannot join win SS in reelections so easy winner will be NCP-CONG with stable government, This will completely destroy SS in Maharashtra and make way for new kind of polities in the state.

  2. Sanjay Nirupam may not be the most objective person to consult on this issue. Perhaps Ms Priyanka Chaturvedi could play a more constructive role.

  3. 1. One hopes that decision of the Congress party not to join hands with NCP and Shiv Sena to form an alliance government is final and will not be changed later. 2. Yes, it is true that Congress-NCP alliance is pre-poll alliance. But it is not binding on the Congress party to support NCP & Shiv Sena to form government now that BJP has refused to make a claim to form government. 3. In politics alliances are nothing new. But alliances of parties with opposite views are mere opportunistic alliances. However, alliance of Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena would not be an easy alliance, but an opportunistic alliance. 4. Let us not forget that all opportunistic alliances like the one proposed between SS, NCP & Congress have a short life and leave bitterness among alliance parties. 5. It is worth mentioning here a recent experience of an opportunistic alliance between Congress and JD(S). In Karnataka Assembly election held in April/May 2018, not one party could secure a majority. The largest party was BJP but Karnataka’s Congress leaders joined hands and formed an alliance government with JD(S) to deny power to BJP. However, many Congress MLAs were unhappy with alliance with JD(S), as their perception was that Congress party was denied a share of power as per party’s strength in the Karnataka Assembly. Alliance government of JD(S and Congress has subsequently lost majority and was defeated, leaving a trail of bitterness. Very recently JD(S) boss H D Deve Gouda has declared that his party will shun both BJP & Congress in next Assembly election in Karnataka whenever it takes place. This just underscores that alliances have to be between like-minded parties and not between competitors and political opponents.

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