Maharashtra Government Formation: Congress Leaders Meet To Decide On Supporting Shiv Sena
A man wears an Indian National Congress Party baseball cap at a polling station. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Maharashtra Government Formation: Congress Leaders Meet To Decide On Supporting Shiv Sena

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With Congress’ 44 Maharashtra MLAs housed in a Jaipur resort, the party’s working committee convened a meeting on Monday to decide on whether to support Shiv Sena in forming the next government in the state.

The stalemate over Maharashtra government formation continued for the 18th day on Monday. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which emerged as the largest party with 105 seats after Maharashtra election results were declared Oct. 24, declined Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s invitation to form the next government.

The governor then approached the next biggest party, BJP ally Shiv Sena, whose Union Minister Arvind Sawant resigned from the Modi Cabinet earlier on Monday.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has time till 7:30 pm Monday to stake claim and form the next state government. The role of Congress, with 44 MLAs, and the Nationalist Congress Party, with 54 MLAs, has thus become crucial.

The party’s Maharashtra MLAs, however, are not in favour of fresh state elections. Congress General Secretary Incharge for Maharashtra, Mallikarjun Kharge, who heard the views of the MLAs, conveyed their feelings to Gandhi and the CWC, sources said.

Kharge had earlier said in Jaipur that his party has "accepted" the public mandate to it to sit in the opposition in the state. "Now it is for the party high command to take a decision, we have left it to the party's high command," he had said.

According to sources, NCP chief Sharad Pawar is likely to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss the possibility of the two parties supporting a Shiv Sena-led government. But Pawar wants the Shiv Sena to first walk out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said there was no point in continuing its alliance with the BJP if it was not willing to fulfil its promise of sharing the chief minister's post in Maharashtra.

Also read: Devendra Fadnavis Resigns As Chief Minister, Blames Shiv Sena For Deadlock In Maharashtra

Reaching out to the opposition parties, Raut said the Congress and the NCP should bury their internal differences to come up with a "common minimum programme" in the interest of Maharashtra.

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