Putting all speculations at rest, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said that the Nationalist Congress Party will not join Shiv Sena in forming government in Maharashtra. Addressing media in Mumbai, the NCP chief said that the people have mandated his party to sit in the Opposition and he will go by that. He said that it’s pertinent that the BJP and Shiv Sena form the government at the earliest. He also took a dig at Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and said that, “even I want to know how he (Raut) will get 170.” Pawar also refuted the reports that he was considering the option of taking up the top job in Maharashtra. “Been Chief Minister for four times, not keen on taking up this job again,” Pawar said.
Earlier in the day, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut met NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Wednesday. “He is a senior leader of the state and the country. He is worried about the political situation in Maharashtra today. We had a brief discussion,” Raut was quoted as saying after meeting Pawar. This is the second time the two leaders have met. The first meeting was after the Maharashtra Assembly poll results, which sparked rumours of new alliance between the NCP and the Shiv Sena.
Raut had met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at his residence. Raut confirmed after the meeting that the politics in Maharashtra were discussed between the two leaders. "Met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar at his residence today. I had come to wish him on the occasion of Diwali. We also discussed the politics in Maharashtra," the Shiv Sena MP said. Sena has asked the BJP to follow the '50:50 power-sharing formula', claiming that it had been agreed to before the 2019 Lok Sabha election. However, Chief Minister Fadnavis has said that there was no agreement on the 50:50 formula.
While Sena is seeking the chief minister’s post, the BJP has said that it would not compromise on the top executive job in the state. The meeting comes hours after Raut described as rumours reports that his party has softened its stand on the issue of sharing power in Maharashtra with ruling alliance partner BJP.
The Wednesday meeting comes ahead of Pawar’s crucial press conference in Mumbai. The meeting gains significance as earlier in the week, Pawar had met Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi. However, Gandhi didn’t exactly warm up to the idea of forming government in Maharashtra along with the NCP.
There has been no headway in government formation after results of the state Assembly polls were declared on October 24 in which the BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena-56, NCP- 54 and Congress-44. Raut, who is a Rajya Sabha member, earlier said his party was firm on a written assurance from the senior alliance partner over power sharing, including rotation of the chief minister's post for two-and-a-half years.