The national capital continued to be the centre of activities about government formation in Maharashtra on Tuesday, but with no clear-cut arrangement emerging, it looks unlikely that a new regime will be in place in the western Indian state anytime soon.
Results of the October 21 assembly polls were declared on October 24 and President's rule was imposed in the state on November 12 after no party or combine staked claim to form the new government.
A meeting with the Congress scheduled on Tuesday in Delhi to further discuss the possibility of government formation in Maharashtra was called off due to pre-occupation of Congress leaders with Indira Gandhi's birth anniversary events, Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik said.
He said Congress leaders requested that the meeting be postponed to Wednesday.
The two sides have deputed leaders for holding talks on a possible alliance.
Accordingly Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel and Congress general secretary K C Venugopal besides some state leaders and Praful Patel, Sunil Tatkare, Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil of the NCP were to meet to explore the possibility of an alliance with the Shiv Sena in the state.
NCP president Sharad Pawar had a meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday.
Pawar said if the NCP-Congress have to take a view on government formation, they have to first discuss it between themselves and with smaller allies.
In the Maharashtra polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party-Sena alliance secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively in the 288-member assembly.
The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats respectively.
However, failing to evolve a consensus over the chief minister's post, the two saffron parties parted ways, with the Sena exploring the possibility of tying up with the Congress-NCP.
In Delhi on Tuesday, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said a Shiv Sena-led alliance government will be in power in Maharashtra early next month.
It will be a stable government, he added.
Raut said there are no doubts in the Sena on the government formation, but it is the media which is creating confusion.
"It needs a 100 births to understand Pawar," Raut said, when asked about the NCP chief's virtual about-turn on the question of Maharashtra government formation by three parties Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP on Monday at a media briefing at his residence in the national capital.
In Mumbai, the Shiv Sena likened its one-time ally BJP to 13th century invader Muhammad Ghori who killed Prithviraj Chauhan despite the legendary king sparing his life several times.
In a hard-hitting editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena said it would "uproot" the BJP as the latter had dared to "challenge us", claiming the ruling party's "leaders were kids" when the Sena's support helped form the
In the editorial, the Sena said, "Muhammad of Ghor, said to have laid the foundation of Islamic rule in India, fought several battles with Hindu king Prithviraj Chauhan and the latter always spared him (after defeat). But when the invader won a battle, he killed Prihtviraj Chauhan."
"Even in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena has spared such ungrateful people several times and now they are trying to back-stab us," the editorial said, without naming the BJP.
The editorial also lashed out at Sena being allotted seats on the opposition side in both houses of Parliament, as announced by Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Sunday.
Joshi had said the decision was made as the Sena's minister -- Arvind Sawant -- had resigned from the Union government and the party was "working out" an alliance with the Congress and the NCP to form the government in Maharashtra.
"Who decided our sitting arrangement when there was no meeting of the NDA held for the same? Earlier, Lal Krishna Advani was the chief of the NDA and George Fernandes was its convener. Who is the chief and convener of the NDA today?" the Sena asked in the editorial.
It also asked if other constituents of the NDA were informed before the Sena was shown the door, claiming such decisions were earlier taken after all parties arrived at a consensus.
The party pointed out that the date chosen to move the Sena to the opposition benches coincided with the seventh death anniversary of party founder Bal Thackeray (November 17).
Meanwhile, amid cautious approach by the NCP-Congress over government formation in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena has called a meeting of all its MLAs and senior leaders in Mumbai on November 22, said a party leader on Tuesday.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will address the meeting which is expected to deliberate on action in the backdrop of the three main non-BJP parties making efforts to form government in Maharashtra.