Once the two parties finalise the common minimum programme, it would then be shared with the Shiv Sena which is then expected to add issues that are close to its heart, reports Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com.
The first of many steps to thrash out a common minimum programme between the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress has gathered momentum and a 10-member committee of the two parties will begin discussion soon.
While 'Kisan-Naujawaan' (farmers-youth) will be the focal points of the CMP, the other pivotal issues will be those of labourers, Dalits, Adivasis, minorities and migrants, senior NCP leader and president of its Mumbai unit Nawab Malik confirmed while speaking to Rediff.com
Malik also confimed that a 10-member coordination committee of Congress-NCP leaders will be held in Mumbai.
The NCP will be represented by Malik along with two former deputy chief ministers, Chhagan Bhujbal and Ajit Pawar, leader of the Opposition in the legislative council Dhananjay Munde, and state party president Jayant Patil.
While the NCP has revealed the names of its five members who will brainstorm over the CMP, the Congress has yet to name its five members.
According to Malik these Congress leaders include state party president Balasaheb Thorat, ex-state president Manikrao Thakre, leader of the Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar, and two former chief ministers, Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan, who have been assigned the responsibility of coordinating with the NCP and evolve a CMP that would then be shared with the Shiv Sena for discussions, which is then expected to add issues that are close to its heart.
The Shiv Sena, Malik said, has also begun discussing the CMP internally.
Thorat said the issues of farmers, unemployment, development of industries are important and would be a part of any CMP that the Congress would be a part of.
"What exactly the CMP will be can be discussed only when we meet," Thorat said.
This development comes on the heels of the meeting Thorat, Thakre and Ashok Chavan had with Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray along with his senior aides Milind Narvekar and Vinayak Raut.
"The meeting was social, but politics too was discussed," Thorat, the state Congress president, said.
"It's a huge positive development; it was the first time we (the Congress and Shiv Sena) sat across the table and discussed things," is how Thorat described the meeting with the Sena chief at the Trident hotel in north west Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Ccomplex on Wednesday afternoon.
Thackeray too said the meeting with the Congress leaders was cordial while speaking with reporters outside the hotel.
"If we have to run a stable government for five years then we need to have a detailed and cool-headed discussion on what is best for the state and its people," Thorat added. "We did talk about politics, but there were no political negotiations."
Thorat said the party has directed all its elected MLAs to start visiting their constituencies and inform the people and farmers that their interests will be well taken care of.
"We are quite aware of the losses suffered by the farmers because of unseasonal rains and will provide immediate relief to farmers once a government takes shape in the state," he said.
A delegation of Congress leaders will meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to apprise him of the losses suffered by the farmers and provide some relief, he said.
Before the meeting with Thackeray, the Congress leaders also met the Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut at the Lilavati hospital in north west Mumbai where he was recuperating after he underwent angioplasty on November 12.
Speaking about their meeting with Raut, Thorat said the former has been a dear friend being a journalist (Raut edits the Shiv Sena daily newspaper Saamna that has been a vociferous critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre and in the state even when the two parties ruled Maharashtra in alliance between 2014-2019).
Asked about the BJP's claim that it is also preparing to form the next government in Maharashtra, Thorat said, "It is important that they boost the confidence and morale of their MLAs by saying such things."
Thorat said he is not worried about the BJP trying to break the MLAs from the Congress as he is confident about his legislators's loyalties.
He also claimed that some BJP MLAs were in touch with him to mull over the prevailing situation in the state.
"BJP MLAs," Thorat said, "are a worried lot these days."