Amid the political logjam in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena's exit from BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is now just a formality. Shiv Sena would not attend a meeting of NDA allies on the eve of the winter session of Parliament. According to Shiv Sena, it had not intention of attending the meeting and has not been invited. Meanwhile, a crucial meeting between Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and NCP leader Sharad Pawar is expected to take place any day next week.
On Saturday, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that severance of ties with the NDA was only a formality now. He also said that Sena MPs would now have different seating arrangements meaning they would be sitting on opposition benches in the winter session of Parliament. Shiv Sena's lone minister in the Narendra Modi government, Arvind Sawant, resigned on November 11. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party fell out with the BJP over sharing of chief minister's post after the two allies won a comfortable majority in the last month's assembly polls.
The Sena also accused the BJP of having intentions to indulge in "horse-trading" in the state, which is under President's rule since November 12.
Asked if only a formal announcement of the Sena walking out of the NDA remains to be made, Raut said, "You can say that. There is no problem with saying that".
Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have reached a consensus on a Common Minimum Programme (CMP), the basis of their proposed alliance government, and there was no need to discuss it in Delhi, Raut said.
Raut also said that it wants Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to be the chief minister. He said "we want Uddhav-ji to lead the government in Maharashtra".
Meanwhile, NCP leader Sharad Pawar has convened a meeting of his party's core committee in Pune on Sunday. He may meet senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel in Delhi next week, and a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi may follow to discuss the CMP and other modalities of forming a coalition with the Sena, according to sources.
Maharashtra was place under President's rule on November 12 after no party or alliance staked claim to form government. The BJP and the Sena, which fought the October 21 polls in alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member assembly. The Congress and NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats.