Interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday gave in-principle nod to an alliance with Shiv Sena to form a government in Maharashtra. India Today reported that the decision was taken during her meeting with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday.
NCP Rajya Sabha MP Majeed Memon told Times Now that "it seems" Sonia Gandhi has approved to the alliance with the Shiv Sena.
Congress leaders are currently holding a meeting with NCP leaders at Sharad Pawar residence at 6 Janpath in New Delhi to discuss the remaining issues in the common minimum programme and cabinet portfolio distribution.
The NCP and Congress leaders are also expected to discuss a myriad of issues - right from the name of their likely alliance if they join hands with the ideologically opposite Shiv Sena to the contours of their tie-up in the coming polls in their meeting on Wednesday, an NCP leader said.
The Congress and the NCP are not comfortable with the name ‘Maha Shiv Aghadi’ (a grand alliance comprising the Shiv Sena), the leader said.
“We don’t want name of any party in the alliance. Even in the NDA and the UPA alliances don’t have names of parties,” the leader added. The Congress-NCP alliance is known as ‘Aghadi’ (front) and the Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI and other smaller parties are known by the term ‘Mahayuti’ (the grand alliance).
The two parties would also discuss whether they would contest the civic body polls with the Shiv Sena if the three parties join hands to form the government in the state. Polls to several civic bodies, including the Birhanmumbai Municipal Corporation, are to be held in 2022.
A meeting with the Congress scheduled on Tuesday to further discuss the possibility of government formation in Maharashtra was called off due to pre-occupation of Congress leaders with Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary events. Congress leaders had requested that the meeting be postponed to Wednesday.
The two sides have deputed leaders for holding talks on a possible alliance. Accordingly Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel and Congress general secretary KC Venugopal besides some state leaders and Praful Patel, Sunil Tatkare, Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil of the NCP were to meet to explore the possibility of an alliance with the Shiv Sena in the state. NCP President Sharad Pawar had a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday.
Pawar said if the NCP-Congress have to take a view on government formation, they have to first discuss it between themselves. In the October 21 Maharashtra polls, the BJP-Sena saffron alliance secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively in the 288-member assembly.
The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats respectively. However, failing to evolve a consensus over the chief minister’s post, the two saffron parties parted ways, with the Sena exploring the possibility of tying up with the Congress-NCP.
(With PTI inputs)