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Sena-NCP government rests on Sonia's decision

By PRASANNA D ZORE
November 11, 2019 11:43 IST

'They want to keep the BJP out, but how to make it happen is the issue that the Congress high command will resolve.'

IMAGE: Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar arrives for the NCP's core committee meeting in Mumbai on November 11, 2019. Photograph: Shashank Parade/PTI Photo
 

Keeping up with the Maharashtra tradition of taking the battle straight to the throne in Delhi, Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise Arvind Sawant, of the Shiv Sena, tweeted that he will be resigning from the National Democratic Alliance government.

The Congress had reportedly set this as a precondition to support the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party government in Maharashtra from the outside.

The Congress has 44 MLAs in Maharashtra and all eyes are on it to see how it will support the Shiv Sena, its ideological arch-opponent for more than 50 years, in the state.

While the Shiv Sena has been firing on all cylinders against the Bharatiya Janata Party through its newspaper Saamna, and through statements made by the party's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut, Arvind Sawant's tweet that he will resign from the Union Cabinet added impetus to the formation of the next government in the state.

Both the Shiv Sena and Congress leaders. however, are tight-lipped about the various meetings that are reportedly likely to happen between Raut and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the Congress's Rajya Sabha member Ahmed Patel with the Congress MLAs who have been holed up in Jaipur.

Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Ashok Chavan was categorical that Patel did not meet the Congress MLAs in Jaipur, but state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant confirmed that the views of the Congress MLAs have been conveyed to Patel and through Patel to the Congress president.

"Mr Ahmed Patel has not come to Jaipur from Delhi," Chavan said even as he added that the party high command has not yet taken any decision.

According to Sawant, a decision to support the Shiv Sena form the next government in the state will be taken by 7.30 pm on Monday. Press Trust of India reports that the Congress Working Committee is currently meeting to decide on Maharashtra government formation.

"The discussion process began on Sunday. We got the inputs from all our MLAs and their views have been conveyed to the Congress president. The senior leadership will discuss the issue in Delhi now. Ahmedbhai was informed," Congress spokesperson Sawant said.

"There are various views prevailing, but the final outcome will come from Delhi and Delhi will prevail upon all the views," Chavan said.

Spelling out the details of the consultations that took place between the Congress MLAs in Jaipur, Sawant said senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Prithviraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan, Manikrao Thakare and Balasaheb Thorat were present at the meeting in Jaipur.

Both Ashok Chavan and Sawant said they are unaware about any meeting between Raut and Gandhi The Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai too said he was unaware about Raut meeting Gandhi.

Asked if a section of Congress MLAs in Jaipur are in favour of supporting a Shiv Sena-NCP government from the outside, Ashok Chavan said, "They want to keep the BJP out, but how to make it happen is the issue that the high command will resolve."

Desai reiterated that Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray will take a decision about whether he himself or his son Aditya will become the next chief minister of Maharashtra.

PRASANNA D ZORE / Rediff.com in Mumbai
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