We will consider Sena’s demand of CM post, says NCP supremo
Amid an assertion by former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that no Government is possible in Maharashtra without the BJP, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Friday expressed confidence that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress Government would soon be formed in the State and it would last for a full five-year term.
Addressing a news conference at Nagpur, Pawar said, “The process has started… Don’t worry. Things will roll out sooner or later. There is no question of mid-term polls in the State. This (Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress) will be formed and it will last for five years. We will be ensure that this Government lasts for its full term.”
Replying to a question, the NCP president said, “Our effort is to see that there is stable Government which is development-oriented. We want a Government that will successfully address major problems in the State. Towards this end, we will do everything that is necessary”.
Declining to give a timeline for the formation of the three-party Government in the State, Pawar indicated that he would meet AICC president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi and discussed whatever remaining issues relating to the Government-formation in the State.
Asked about the Sena’s demand for the Chief Minister’s post, Pawar said, “Discussions are going on. They are still in initial stages. If any party wants the Chief Minister’s post we will definitely consider the demand”.
When his attention was drawn to a statement by Fadnavis that no Government was possible without the BJP and if any Government was to be formed in Maharashtra it would be a BJP-led Government, Pawar took a jibe at the former Chief Minister and said, “Something else was going on in my mind… that is (Fadnavis’ oft-repeated statement during election rallies) me punha yenar, me punha yenar… (I will return as the Chief Minister)”.
On being asked about Fadnavis’ statement that a non-BJP Government would not last for even six months, Pawar quipped, “I have known Fadnavis for quite some time. But I did not know he is an astrologer too.”
Queried as to how the NCP and Congress would deal with the Hindutva issue championed by the Shiv Sena while in a three-party Government, Pawar said, “This issue must have figured in the meeting that the NCP-Congress leaders had with the Shiv Sena leaders on the Common Minimum Programme (CMP). I was not there in Mumbai at that time… But one thing is true that both the Congress and NCP talk about secularism. We are not against Islam, Christian and Buddhism. But when we run the Government we insist on being secular. I don’t know what transpired at the meeting. I will find out when I return to Mumbai”.
On whether the three-party Government was proposing to grant give five per cent reservations to Muslims in jobs, Pawar said: “You will get to know all this when we come out with the CMP”.
Pawar, who is playing a pivotal role in forging an alliance among three non-BJP parties, is likely meet Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Sunday to finalise issues relating to the formation of a Sena-NCP-Congress Government in Maharashtra.
It remains to be seen if he will meet Sena president Uddhav Thackeray before his Sunday’s meeting. Or will Uddhav meet Gandhi either individually or with Pawar in the national Capital?.
Though the Shiv Sena leadership is to wrap up all the nitty-gritties relating to the Government formations before Sunday, which happens to be death anniversary of late Bal Thackeray on November 17, it looks difficult that things will fall in place so fast. In fact, Pawar himself told a Shiv Sena leader to this effect in Nagpur on Friday evening.
Though no party is coming out in the open about the details relating to the power-sharing formula that is being worked out among the three parties, sources said that the NCP and Congress had agreed to give the Chief Minister’s post to the Shiv Sena which, according to them, deserved the post as it walked out of the BJP-led BJP to align with them to form a Government.
According to the formula, there will be two Deputy Chief Ministers – one each belonging to the NCP and the Congress. There appears to be unanimity on the number of ministerial berths each party will get in the proposed Government. While the Shiv Sena and the NCP will get 14 ministries each, the Congress will get 12 ministerial berths. As things stand, the Congress may get the crucial State Assembly Speaker’s post.
In a related development in Mumbai, State BJP president Chandrakant Patil – while briefing mediapersons on the deliberations that took place at a two-day meeting of the party called to analyse the State Assembly results – quoted Fadnavis as having told the BJP functionaries present at the meeting that “any Government that will be formed in the State will be headed by the BJP”.
“Having won 105 seats and with the support of another 14 MLAs, the BJP has a combined strength of 119 MLAs. That being the case, no Government can be formed without the BJP. Whatever the Government that will be formed in the State will be headed by the BJP,” Patil said, quoting Fadnavis as having assured the BJP functionaries present at the meeting that the BJP would form a Government in the State.
Among other things, Patil said that the State BJP, which had emerged as the single largest party in the State, had drawn up a plan to further strengthen its base across the State during the next three months.
Giving statistics of votes polled by the major political parties during the recent Assembly polls, Patil said: “The BJP emerged first by polling 1.42 crore votes, while the NCP secured a total of 92 lakh and the Shiv Sena got 90 lakh votes in the polls. No other party has won 100 seats in the state since 1990. The BJP won more than 100 for second time in this election. We had won 122 seats in the 2014 elections, we have won 105 seats in the 2019 elections”.
“A maximum of 12 BJP women candidates have won the elections. Of the 59 seats in which we were defeated, the BJP stood second. Of the 26 candidates who joined the BJP in the least few months and contested the polls, 16 have won,” Patil said.
Saturday, 16 November 2019 | TN Raghunatha | Mumbai
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