Amid a logjam over government formation in Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Monday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi after which he asserted that the responsibility to form the government there is with the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies, but kept the guessing game on with a "can't say what will happen" in the future remark.
Pawar, who arrived in New Delhi in the morning, also said the mandate for the NCP-Congress alliance is to sit in the opposition.
Amid reports of the Shiv Sena, which is playing hardball on the issue of chief minister's post, making friendly overtures to the NCP, Pawar said neither the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has sought any support from his party to form the government, nor the NCP has made any proposal in this regard.
The NCP chief said he briefed Gandhi on the political situation in Maharashtra and they decided that they will meet again in a few days.
"We have not discussed the formation of government, I just briefed her what is the strength-wise position, the NCP, the Congress, and some of the other independents who are ready to help us...," Pawar told reporters after meeting the Congress chief for over half an hour.
The BJP and the Sena are locked in a bitter tussle over the issue of chief minister's post, resulting in a stalemate in government formation despite results of the Assembly polls on October 24 giving the saffron alliance a combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288-member House. In the polls, the BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena-56, NCP-54 and Congress-44.
"Last few days we are observing, the Shiv Sena has taken a very strong line against the BJP. They are consistently writing in their mouthpiece against the BJP and they are also consistently demanding that they would like to form the government with the support of the BJP," he said.
The NCP chief, however, added that it was the saffron alliance's "internal issue".
The meeting between the two leaders came on a day of hectic political activity with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis meeting BJP chief Amit Shah here and asserting that there is a need to form a government in the state at the earliest.
Also on Monday, Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut in Mumbai met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari after which he said that his party was not creating any hurdles in the formation of the government in Maharashtra.
Pawar also claimed that the mood of the people of Maharashtra is against the BJP now.
"As of today, the numbers are not with us. The mandate the public has given us is to sit in opposition but can't say what will happen (in future), lets see," he said.
"BJP and their allies have the numbers. And responsibility is on them to form the government. We are seeing what they are doing," Pawar said.
"We have not talked to anyone. We have not spoken to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. Neither they have given us any proposal, nor we have them any proposal," said the 78-year-old leader whose energetic campaign ensured a strong performance by the NCP in the October 21 Maharashtra assembly polls, belying expectations.
His answer was an emphatic "no" when asked the possibility of him coming back as the CM of Maharashtra.
Asked if there is a possibility of the NCP backing a Sena CM, Pawar said, "Nobody has asked us, they have to ask first".
On whether the Sena was "untouchable", he did not give a direct answer but said the NCP fought against them.
Asked if it was a 'bargaining game' going on between the BJP and the Shiv Sena, Pawar said,"I think the game between the two is serious."