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Maharashtra impasse | Congress, NCP in huddle after Governor refuses Sena plea for extension

Aditya Thakaray, Shiv Sena youth wing chief along with Eknath Shinde and other leaders of the party addressing media at the Raj Bhavan after meeting the Governor of Maharashtra in Mumbai on Monday, November 11, 2019.

Aditya Thakaray, Shiv Sena youth wing chief along with Eknath Shinde and other leaders of the party addressing media at the Raj Bhavan after meeting the Governor of Maharashtra in Mumbai on Monday, November 11, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

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Though the Sena had asked for three more days to produce the letters of support, Mr. Koshyari turned down the request and invited the NCP, which is the third largest party with 54 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly

In fast-paced political developments in Maharashtra, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday evening invited the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the government after the Shiv Sena failed to provide the letters of support from the Congress-NCP alliance.

Though the Shiv Sena had asked for three more days to produce the letters, of support, Mr. Koshyari turned down the request and invited the NCP, which is the third largest party with 54 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly.

“We will discuss the proposal with our allies tomorrow and will get back with our reply to the Governor’s office before 8.30 p.m. tomorrow,” NCP State president Jayant Patil said after meeting the Governor late in the evening.

In a separate late night development, NCP president Sharad Pawar called up Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to clear any misgivings and is learnt to have expressed confidence that the crisis would be resolved by Tuesday.

Sena exits NDA

The developments came on a day when the Shiv Sena’s lone representative in the Union Cabinet, Arvind Sawant, resigned as the Union Heavy Industries Minister, and the party severed its ties with the National Democratic Alliance. The political drama took another twist after the Congress announced that it need more time to talk to its ally, the NCP, just minutes before the 7:30 p.m. deadline that the Governor had set for the Shiv Sena to stake claim.

 

“The Congress Working Committee (CWC) met this morning and had a detailed discussion on the situation in Maharashtra after which a consultation was held with State leaders. The Congress president has spoken with Sharad Pawarji. The party will have further discussion with the NCP,” the Congress said in a statement.

The statement, however, had no mention about extending support to the Shiv Sena. Senior leaders, including A.K. Antony, Mallikarjun Kharge and K.C. Venugopal, are learnt to have voiced reservations on the issue at the CWC meeting. Congress leaders from Kerala, which sends the highest number of MPs to the Lok Sabha, in particular, are learnt to have argued that a tie-up with the Shiv Sena will send a “wrong political signal” and give an edge to the Left parties.

However, a majority of the newly elected Congress MLAs were not only in favour of supporting a Shiv Sena-led alliance but also on joining the government.

‘Positive direction’

Top Congress sources told The Hindu that though “there has been a pause to the process, it is proceeding in a positive direction” as there have been crucial meetings away from the media glare with serious discussions on being part of a non-BJP government. Senior party leaders Mr. Kharge, Ahmed Patel and Mr. Venugopal are expected in Mumbai on Tuesday.

While Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, along with party colleague Sanjay Raut, met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at a five-star hotel in Bandra, senior Shiv Sena leaders Anil Desai and Arvind Sawant met senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel in New Delhi.

Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, meanwhile, was optimistic while talking to the media at Raj Bhavan after he met Mr. Koshyari seeking more time.

“After receiving a letter of invitation from the Governor yesterday, we started consultations with the Congress and the NCP, which had in principle expressed support to us. We have informed the honourable Governor that while we have the willingness, the duration given to us is less. The process needs 48 hours to complete but he has refused that time. But our claim still stays and we will continue our efforts to talk with support groups,” he said. The Shiv Sena delegation informed the Governor that it had an in-principle support of 162 MLAs, including those of the Congress and the NCP and about 15 Independents.

''We have the support of 160 legislators but could not produce letter of support from the Congress and NCP. We are confident of providing the numbers soon,'' said Sena leader Anandrao Adsul.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 9:39:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-impasse-congress-ncp-in-huddle-after-governor-refuses-sena-plea-for-extension/article29947497.ece

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