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Uddhav Thackeray meets Sharad Pawar; coalition takes shape in Maharashtra

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray (right) and his son Aaditya leave NCP leader Sharad Pawar’s residence in Mumbai late on November 21, 2019.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray (right) and his son Aaditya leave NCP leader Sharad Pawar’s residence in Mumbai late on November 21, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

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The discussions moved to Mumbai after a series of meetings, including that of the Congress Working Committee that gave its approval to the proposed coalition.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya held a meeting with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar at his residence in Mumbai late on November 21 as final discussions on government formation in Maharashtra moved to the State capital.

The Thackerays called on Mr. Pawar, a Rajya Sabha MP, after he arrived in Mumbai from New Delhi in the evening.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said in New Delhi that his party and the NCP had “complete unanimity” on all issues concerning government formation in Maharashtra and would hold talks with the Shiv Sena to “finalise the architecture of the alliance”. The proposed alliance could be named ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’.

Further discussions are expected in Mumbai on November 22 with the Congress and the NCP meeting their pre-poll allies, including the Swabhimani Paksha and the CPI(M), before meeting with the Sena, Mr. Chavan said.

Senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Mallikarjun Kharge are likely to join the deliberations.

“As soon these discussions are complete, the media will be briefed about the architecture and power-sharing,” he said, flanked by NCP’s Nawab Malik, after a three-hour long meeting with Mr. Pawar in Delhi.

The discussions moved to Mumbai after a series of meetings, including that of the Congress Working Committee that gave its approval to the proposed coalition. The three parties are likely to make a formal announcement on Friday on government formation.

The NCP might push for a rotational system for the Chief Minister’s post even though plum portfolios could be a trade-off for a full five-year term for a Sena nominee.

Senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Mallikarjun Kharge are likely to join in the deliberations.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and others at the NCP-Congress meeting held at Mr. Pawar’s residence in New Delhi on November 21, 2019.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and others at the NCP-Congress meeting held at Mr. Pawar’s residence in New Delhi on November 21, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

“We will have a meeting with our pre-poll alliance partners, various small parties. We will follow that with discussions with the Sena. As soon these discussions are complete, the media will be briefed about the architecture and power-sharing,” said Mr. Chavan, flanked by NCP’s Nawab Malik, after a three-hour long meeting Mr. Pawar’s residence.

After deliberating on the common minimum programme (CMP), the Congress-NCP leaders discussed in detail the composition of the coalition.

Also read: Maharashtra government formation: ‘Secularism’ emerges as bone of contention

Earlier discussions suggested that on the strength of the numbersthe Sena, with 56 Assembly seats, could get 16 ministerial berths and the NCP, with 54 MLAs, 15 berths. Though the Congress has been offered only 12 berths, as it has only 44 MLAs, sources said the party was keen on equal representation.

Mr. Chavan, however, dismissed these reports. “All discussions in the public domain are speculations,” he said.

The announcement of final discussions moving to Mumbai came after a series of meetings in Delhi, including one of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) that gave its formal approval to the proposed coalition.

‘Stable govt soon’

“In a day or two, the three parties will reach a consensus. Maharashtra will get a stable government led by the Sena before December,” said Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut. a key interlocutor between the Sena and the NCP.

The Hindu had earlier reported on Wednesday morning that there were tricky issues such as the Congress’s insistence on including “secularism” in the CMP, while the Sena didn’t want it explicitly mentioned.

But the issues were resolved after the NCP suggested that the CMP will talk about abiding by the Preamble of the Constitution without explicitly mentioning any word.

“In the interest of the State and its people, we want to run the government and that too for five years”, Mr. Raut said.

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 2:02:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/maharashtra-government-takes-shape/article30038229.ece

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