Maharashtra: Speculation rife over possible change in political equations after Sanjay Raut meets Sharad Pawar

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Updated: November 1, 2019 10:00:24 AM

If the NCP and Congress decide to extend support to the Shiv Sena, the alliance will cross the halfway mark of 145 in the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and would be in a comfortable situation to form the government.

maharashtra government formationSanjay Raut meets Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Thursday. (File photo)

Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has described his visit to NCP chief Sharad Pawar as a courtesy call on the occasion of Diwali. “Met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar at his residence today. I had come to wish him on the occasion of Diwali. We also discussed the politics in Maharashtra,” he said.

The meeting, however, sparked speculation about efforts being made for the possible formation of a non-BJP government in the state. The meeting between the two leaders took place at the NCP supremo’s Mumbai residence amid differences over power-sharing and formation of the next government between the BJP and Shiv Sena.

Though the BJP and Shiv Sena have won a clear majority in the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, they are bickering over the power-sharing formula even ten days after the state elections. The two parties haven’t been able to discuss the modalities of government formation so far with the Shiv Sena adamant on its demand for equal sharing of power. However, the BJP has categorically rejected Sena’s demand and offered the deputy CM’s post for five years.

In the just-concluded elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party winning 105 seats, while the Sena won 56 seats. The NCP and Congress have clinched 54 and 44 seats, respectively.

If the NCP and Congress decide to extend support to the Shiv Sena, the alliance will cross the halfway mark of 145 in the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and would be in a comfortable situation to form the government.

Earlier this week, Shiv Sena leaders had met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari as well, setting off speculation and later calling it a courtesy visit. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray also met the Governor on Thursday. But the party said that it was regarding farmers’ issues, not government formation.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress leaders on Thursday also met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar at his Mumbai residence. State Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat and former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan were among those who visited Pawar’s residence. The leaders discussed the strategy with regard to government formation in view of the current scenario in the state.

The Congress and NCP contested the elections in agreement and Sharad Pawar spearheaded the poll campaign of the opposition alliance.

The Congress leaders have also reached Delhi and would meet party president Sonia Gandhi to seek her opinion on extending support to the Shiv Sena which is demanding the CM’s post from its ally BJP for 2.5 years.

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