Maharashtra: NCP can join the government led by Shiv Sena with the external support of Congress

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: While the PNC chief, Sharad Pawar, discussed the stalemate on government formation with the president of Congress Sonia Gandhi On Monday, a Pawar party leader told TOI on condition of anonymity that the PCN was willing to join a government led by Shiv Sena, with Congress supporting from outside and his nominee obtaining the speaker's position. All this would depend on Sena ending its alliance with the BJP, the leader added.

We have proposed the type of formula that the Sena-BJP combine had in 1995. Sena's nominee was then CM, while the BJP nominee was senior vice minister. We have said that Sena's nominee would be the CM, and the CM deputy would be from NCP, the leader said.

BJP has won 105 seats in the assembly, Sena 56 and NCP and Congress 54 and 44 respectively. After the long-awaited meeting between the head of the PCN and Sonia, which further fueled the pot amid the battle of high-voltage nerves between saffron allies, Pawar told reporters that BJP should form the state government with his ally Sena, since there were numbers. Significantly, he said that the mandate for NCP was to sit in the opposition, but you can't talk about the future.

More importantly, he gave credit to Sena's risky attitude when asked if there was a negotiation game between the allies. I think the game between the two is serious, Pawar said.

The unconditional NCP said he had not received any proposal from Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, but during his conversation with journalists, he added that he could not talk about what would happen in the future.

Pawar is learnt to have urged the Congress chief to review her position on staying away from the Sena and to give a green signal to her state unit. He is also learnt to have told Sonia Gandhi that the Sena was serious in its clash with the BJP.

However, Congressional leaders have always indicated that the Seine would have to come out of their agreement with the BJP for the party to move and think about an alliance with it.

A former Maharashtra CM said that when state Congress leaders had called on Sonia Gandhi last week, they had told her that the Congress must initiate steps to prevent the BJP from coming to power in the state. During that meeting, there was consensus on preventing the BJP from coming to power, the ex-CM said.

When asked if Congress would join a Sena-led government, the former CM said the main priority of the Congress-PCN front was to keep the BJP out. We still have to decide whether we will join the government or give external support, but we are determined to stop the BJP, he said.

Among those who had met Sonia Gandhi last week were state Congress president Balasaheb Thorat, his predecessor Manikrao Thakre and former CMs Ashok Chavan and.

However, another NCP leader said he doubted that Sena would take the initiative to form the government. Also in the past, the Seine had taken a firm stand against the BJP but, at the last moment, surrendered to the leadership of the BJP. We have had experience with the Seine, its credibility is doubtful, he said.

Congress and the PCN will join Sena's efforts whenever Uddhav Thackeray personally invites the two parties to join the government, said the first PCN leader.

Pawar, when the mediators in Delhi asked him if he could return as Maharashtra CM, said: No.

The BJP is responsible for forming the government in Maharashtra, since together with their ally they have the numbers. Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray or anyone else in the Seine has not sought the support of the PNC, he said. The BJP and its allies have the numbers. And it is their responsibility to form the government. We are seeing what they are doing, Pawar said.

NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said that if BJP fails to claim, measures would have to be taken to form an alternative government. It will be too soon to comment on who will lead the government. We hope there will be more clarity after Sharad Pawar meets with his senior colleagues on Tuesday. So far, there is no proposal from the Seine.