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Sharad Pawar wants 1995 formula; Congress demands CMP

After the governor placed the state assembly under suspended animation, the three parties condemned the action continued to work for staking claim to form a government even as the Sena approached the Supreme Court. On its part, BJP is likely to ac...

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 13, 2019, 01.26 PM IST
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NCP names 5 members for joint panel with Cong to prepare Common Minimum Programme
NCP names 5 members for joint panel with Cong to prepare Common Minimum Programme
New Delhi: The Centre’s imposition of President’s rule in Maharashtra came within hours of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar agreeing on drawing up a tripartite pact with Shiv Sena on the larger contours of sharing power in the state. Following the decision, a delegation led by senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had reached Mumbai to draft the agreement.

After the governor placed the state assembly under suspended animation, the three parties condemned the action continued to work for staking claim to form a government even as the Sena approached the Supreme Court. On its part, BJP is likely to accelerate its efforts to drive a wedge between the Sena-NCP-Congress or poach MLAs.

Sources said the effort would be to have a complete agreement between Sena and NCP-Congress on every issue of their coming together. It would deal with share of ministerial berths, inking a common minimum programme (CMP) which would aim at making Sena shed some of its traditional ‘Hindutva-Maharashtra planks’ which has been in conflict with the NCPCongress’ ‘social thrust’.

Pawar is learnt to have conveyed to Sena that the power-sharing formula for a Sena-led government with NCP’s participation and Congress backing or participation would have to be on the lines of the 1995 formula when the CM was from Sena but allotted the deputy CM’s post and plum portfolios, including home and finance, to BJP. Congress-NCP replicated the formula in 1999. NCP has also been contemplating on CM by rotation.

Former Congress chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said: “We are surprised by the governor’s decision to recommend President’s rule even without bothering to assess views of NCP and Congress, the fourth-largest party. Yet, with the state assembly under suspended animation, the Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP are in talks on the formula for staking claim, under an agreed chief ministerial candidate, to provide a representative government as per the Constitution.” The opposition camps also pointed out that governor, who wound up his government-making explorations within 96 hours, had watched the BJP-Sena postpoll bargaining for 10 days.

Notwithstanding theories of Congress’ ‘ideological issues’ in joining hands with Sena, its so-called ‘delay’ in sending letters or NCP’s ‘one-upmanship’ — with Ajit Pawar lamenting about his uncle waiting for Congress letters of support to Sena till Monday evening — Congress and NCP leaders privately maintained they were able to start serious discussions on a working arrangement only after the Sena formally snapped ties with BJP on Monday afternoon by making its Union minister quit. It also pointed out that Pawar had conveyed to the Sena leadership that serious discussions would follow only after the former disengaged with BJP.

The sequence of events speaks for itself: After the Sena announced resignation of its Union minister, Sonia Gandhi held a hurriedly-convened CWC meeting that decided she would hold talks with Maharashtra Congress leaders on the way forward; Pawar and Gandhi then spoke on phone, when he said the negotiations with Sena was not complete and NCP’s letter of support would follow only after an agreement, something Congress too decided to follow.

Consequently, when Uddhav Thackeray called up Gandhi and requested for Congress’ letter of support, on Monday evening, she is learnt to have told him that Congress too was backing the Sena “in principle”, like NCP, and advised him to seek more time from the governor so that a tripartite agreement on all issues could be reached and letters of support given to Sena. The governor, however, rejected Sena’s request.

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