A 5-star hospital in Mumbai’s posh Bandra locality has become the hub of all crucial negotiations over the Maharashtra’s political turmoil. A day after senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut’s angioplasty at the hospital, the top leadership of both Sena and the NCP have visited the medical institute. While publicly, it may be a simple courtesy call, sources say that the hospital has turned into a ‘situation room’ for the parties as they work out to iron the differences. (MAHARASHTRA LIVE UPDATES)
From Sharad Pawar to Uddhav Thackeray to Chhagan Bhujbal, almost all top brass was seen visiting the Bandra hospital. Sources have also pointed out that the leaders are refraining from talking over phone. Be it the meeting at a Bandra hotel or the hospital, the leaders are meeting in person to discuss the nitty-gritty of government formation. Sources say that both the NCP and the Congress will follow the 1999 plan. In the 2009 elections, the Congress contested more seats than the NCP. At that time, Sonia Gandhi had kept the Chief Ministership with the Congress, while the key portfolios were shared with the NCP. A leader on condition of anonymity said that the Congress is insisting on ‘common minimum programme’. 10 Janpath is conducting all negotiations via the NCP.
The sources say the Monday talks between the NCP and Shiv Sena broke down over Uddhav Thackeray’s reluctance over sharing key portfolio with NCP and the Congress. “Hon'ble Congress President Smt.Sonia Gandhi spoke to Shri.Sharad Pawar today morning and deputed Shri.Ahamed Patel, Shri.Mallikarjun Kharge and myself for holding further discussions with Shri.Pawar. We three are going to Mumbai now and will meet Shri.Pawar at the earliest,” KC Venugopal tweeted on Tuesday signalling at new pace of talks between the NCP and the Congress. Talking exclusively to News Nation, an NCP leader on condition of anonymity said that the negotiations are on about which leader will get what role. Ajit Pawar had also told reporters that all three parties will sit together to discuss modalities of government formation.
The Shiv Sena on Monday suffered a setback in its efforts to cobble up a non-BJP government in the state with the Congress at the last moment announcing its decision to hold more talks with ally NCP on supporting the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
While Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray said two parties (Congress and NCP) have agreed "in-principle" to support the Sena-led government, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari refused additional time sought by his party to muster numbers. Later, the NCP, which is the third largest party in the state, got an invite from the governor, asking it to express "willingness and ability to form government". With 54 MLAs, the NCP is the third largest party after the BJP (105) and the Shiv Sena (56) in the 288-member House, where the halfway mark in 145. The Congress has 44 MLAs.