The Shiv Sena on Monday claimed that the NCP and Congress have agreed "in-principle" to back its government without the BJP in Maharashtra but failed to get letters of support from the political rivals before the deadline set by the Governor who rejected its plea for three more days to do so.
As the impasse in government formation entered the 18th day and the prospect of President's rule loomed, the Congress appeared not wanting to take a hasty decision to align with its ideological rival, and decided to hold further talks with its pre-poll ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on the issue of supporting the Sena.
As the 7.30 pm deadline ended for Shiv Sena, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday night invited the NCP asking it to express "willingness and ability to form government".
State unit NCP president Jayant Patil said the party will discuss the issue with Congress and get back to the governor by 8:30 pm on Tuesday.
"As per the procedure, the governor has given us a letter being the third largest party in the state of Maharashtra and therefore, we have suggested to him that we will have to talk to our alliance partner," Patil told reporters.
Earlier, NCP leader Ajit Pawar said Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has called him as government formation in Maharashtra remained in limbo more than two weeks after declaration of assembly poll results.
Speaking to reporters in the evening, Pawar, the NCP’s legislature party leader, said he was not aware why the Governor rang him up.
“At 8:30 pm (on Monday), we got a call from the Governor. He has invited me as the legislature party leader. I do not know for what reason I have been invited,” Pawar told reporters here.
“We have no idea what he has invited me. We will be meeting Governor Koshyari,” Pawar, who was accompanied by Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil and senior party leader Chhagan Bhujbal, said.
The development takes places in the wake of the Shiv Sena suffering a setback in its efforts to cobble up a non-BJP government with the Congress at the last moment announcing its decision of holding more talks with the NCP on supporting the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
Speaking to reporters later, NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said “it is learnt” that the Governor has invited his party as it is the third largest political formation with 54 seats. “We will hold discussion with the Congress based on the letter the Governor will give us...we will take a final decision (on steps to be taken) tomorrow,” Malik said.
With 54 MLAs, the NCP is the third largest party after the BJP (105) and the Shiv Sena (56).
The NCP’s ally Congress has 44 winning candidates in the 288-member house where the majority mark is 145.