Sharad Pawar Says BJP-Shiv Sena Should Form Maharashtra Government, Congress-NCP Will Sit In Opposition
Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Wednesday asked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena to form the Maharashtra government at the earliest, and asserted that his party and ally Congress will work as a "responsible opposition".
Addressing a press conference here after meeting Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, Pawar ruled out joining the Uddhav Thackeray-led party in the state government with outside support of the Congress.
"Where is the question (of a non-BJP government)?" Pawar said. The BJP and the Shiv Sena have been in alliance for 25 years, and they "will come together sooner or later".
"If we had the numbers, we wouldn't have waited for anyone (for government formation). The Congress and NCP didn't cross the 100 mark...we will work as a responsible opposition," said the 78-year-old.
Noting that the BJP and Shiv Sena have received the mandate to rule, he said, "They should form the government at the earliest and not allow the state to slip in a constitutional crisis. They should allow us to fulfil the mandate assigned to us by people (to sit in opposition)."
On his discussion with Congress President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Monday over the issue of supporting the Shiv Sena, he said, "The Congress and NCP fought the election in alliance. We want all decisions about the political situation to be taken by consensus. I am not aware what is the decision of the Congress."
The NCP President also dismissed speculation that he may return as the state's chief minister. "I have been the chief minister four times and have no interest again," he said.
Asked about senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel's meeting with Union Transport Minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi on Wednesday, Pawar declined to attach any political significance to it, saying, "It must be about some road work."
Pawar, a Rajya Sabha member, also said Raut met him in Mumbai on Wednesday to discuss issues to be jointly raised in the Upper House during Parliament session beginning on Nov. 18.
On Raut claiming the Shiv Sena will install its chief minister with the support of 170 MLAs, Pawar wondered from where the party will manage to get this number.
"I have read about him talking about (backing of) 170 (MLAs to the Shiv Sena for government formation). We are also searching from where they will be cobbled up," the former Union minister said.
A journalist asked Pawar whether the results of the Oct. 21 Maharashtra elections have changed the perception that BJP chief Amit Shah ensures formation of government in a state whether or not the party has majority. "If he is an expert, then like you (the media), we are also waiting to see the skills of the expert," he responded.
Meanwhile, responding to Pawar's statement asking the BJP and Shiv Sena to form government at the earliest, Raut said, "He is right. The party with 105 MLAs should form the government."
There has been no headway in government formation after Maharashtra election resutls were declared on Oct. 24. The BJP won 105 seats in the polls while ally Shiv Sena won 56. The NCP and Congress won 54 and 44 seats, respectively.
The term of the existing 288-seat state assembly expires on Nov. 9.
WATCH | Will Work As Responsible Opposition: NCP Chief Sharad Pawar