Maha Pawar play: Talks with Sonia yield no results
Modi reaches out to NCP, praises it for decorum on Parliament floors
The much-awaited meeting between NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday did not throw up a decisive word on the future of a Government in Maharashtra involving them and the Shiv Sena, which continues to wait in anxiety having staked everything in a bid to corner the Chief Minister’s post.
In an interesting turn of events, just ahead of Pawar-Sonia meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday utilised his address during the 250th session of the Rajya Sabha to praise the NCP for discipline in the House. “Today, I want to appreciate two parties, the NCP and the BJD. These parties have wonderfully adhered to parliamentary norms. They have never gone into the Well of the House (to protest). Yet, they have made their points very effectively. Every political party, including my party, should learn from them,” Modi said.
While efforts are on for the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP to come together, there has been a buzz also about the BJP and the NCP exploring an alternative possibility for Government formation in Maharashtra. The formation of a Government in Maharashtra will take some more time to become a reality as both the Congress and the NCP decided to hold talks with their allies in Maharashtra before taking a final decision.
But the BJP, the Congress and the NCP have all opted out of fray for the November 22 mayoral poll in the BMC, India’s richest civic body. While Sena retaining the mayor and deputy mayor’s post is thus a mere formality, it has increased Sena’s importance and also the suspense over who will it eventually ally with.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Pawar said he briefed Sonia about the political situation in Maharashtra but surprisingly, claimed, there was neither any talk on Government formation in the State nor the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for the three parties. The three parties had earlier met in Mumbai to chalk out a 40-point CMP.
“We have discussed in detail the political situation in Maharashtra,” he said, adding senior Congress leader AK Antony was also there.
“Certain leaders of both (Congress-NCP) parties will meet and discuss further and get back to us. We will keep an eye on the situation in Maharashtra. The Congress and the NCP leaders will hold further talks on the future course of action,” he maintained. Sources said the NCP has called its leaders like Ajit Pawar and Jayant Patil to Delhi to hold the talks.
Pawar has been keeping the guessing game on ever since the talks between the three parties started. Before his meeting with Sonia too, Pawar came out with a remark that puzzled all. “BJP-Shiv Sena fought together, we (the NCP) and the Congress fought together. They have to choose their path and we will do our politics,” he told reporters before the Winter Session of Parliament began.
And before that when the mediapersons mentioned to him about the Shiv Sena telling them that it was in talks with the NCP, Pawar exclaimed, “Really?”
Asked if he would rule out the NCP supporting the BJP in forming the Government, Pawar evaded a direct reply and pointed out that the BJP was his party’s major opponent in the Assembly polls. “The BJP and Sena contested the polls jointly. Ask them why they are not forming the Government,” Pawar countered.
Sena leader and spokesperson Sanjay Raut met Pawar late in the evening.
“Sharad Pawar met the Congress President today and briefed her on the situation in Maharashtra. It was decided that in a day or two, representatives from NCP and Congress will meet in Delhi to discuss the way forward,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet after the 50-minute meeting between the two.
Maharashtra was placed under the President’s rule on November 12 after no party or alliance staked claim to form government in the state.
Pawar’s meeting with the Congress chief comes a day after the NCP’s core committee held a meeting in Pune and resolved that the President’s Rule should end and an “alternative government” be formed in Maharashtra.
In the October 21 Maharashtra polls, the BJP-Sena saffron alliance had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively in the 288-member Assembly. The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, had won 44 and 54 seats respectively
Tuesday, 19 November 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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