Government will be formed, no mid-term elections: Pawar

NCP chief Sharad Pawar addresses a press conference in Nagpur on November 15, 2019.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar addresses a press conference in Nagpur on November 15, 2019.   | Photo Credit: S Sudershan

He said the three parties wanted to form a stable government which would be development-oriented.

In what could be seen as the first hint towards formation of a Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government in Maharashtra, NCP president Sharad Pawar said in Nagpur on Friday, “There is no scope for mid-term polls (in Maharashtra). This government will be formed. It will run for five years. We all will ensure it.”

The NCP chief did not mention whether the government will be of Sena, NCP and Congress. He had earlier replied that the NCP is holding talks only with the Congress and the Sena to form the government and not the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

This is for the first time since the October 24 results of the State Assembly polls that the top leader of any of the three parties has hinted that they are on the way to forming a government.

Mr. Pawar’s statement also comes a day after leaders of all three parties prepared a draft of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) to be the basis for the next government and submitted it to the top leaders. According to sources, the CMP draft is set to be the basis of whether to form the alliance or not.

President’s Rule was imposed in Maharashtra on Tuesday after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari recommended it to the Union Cabinet. None of the four major parties in the State have secured a majority of 145 in the 288-member Assembly.

The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 105 seats while the Sena, the NCP and the Congress won 56, 54 and 44 seats respectively. After the BJP’s refusal to share the CM post for 2.5 years with its oldest ally the Sena, the latter resigned from the Union government and has sought support from the other two parties to form the government.

Mr. Pawar is likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday in Delhi. In a joint press conference, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and Mr. Pawar had clarified that they will first reach a consensus between themselves and only then will announce the decision on alliance with the Sena.

Earlier, Mr. Pawar had said that talks on power sharing are yet to take place and he is not in a position to confirm who will get the Chief Minister’s post. However in Mumbai, Mumbai NCP president and chief spokesperson Nawab Malik repeated that the Sena will have the CM post for five years.

Asked whether the Congress and NCP can get along with the Sena which promotes Hindutva ideology, Mr. Pawar said, “We are not against Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism. But we are the people who insist on secularism when it comes to running a government. I don’t know what discussions took place on this issue in the meeting of the three parties as I was not there.”

Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said, “There have been instances earlier where parties of different ideologies have come together. Vajpayee ji (BJP leader and ex-PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee) headed an alliance of parties who came together on a common minimum programme. In Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar had led a Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) government (1978-80) of which the Jan Sangh, the BJP’s earlier avatar, was a part.”

Mr. Raut said Maharashtra’s next government will be led by his party and the CMP will in the State’s interest.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan refused to comment on Mr. Pawar’s statement saying his job was to prepare the CMP and to submit it to his party leadership.

“We were asked to come out with a programme on which the government, if it is to be formed, will work for five years. We have prepared it and sent it to our leader Soniaji. It is she, who will take the final decision along with Mr. Pawar and Mr. Thackeray. We have no role in finalising the alliance,” he said.

Asked whether a corporate is helping the BJP to form the government and approached him for the same, Mr. Pawar said, “I have not held any such discussion. The only meetings I conducted were with the Congress and the Sena.” Mr. Chavan too refused to answer the question.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 2:04:18 PM |

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