Uddhav Thackeray is the consensus candidate for Chief Minister of a Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance government in Maharashtra, NCP leader Sharad Pawar said after the first joint meeting of the three parties in Mumbai on Friday evening. "We all have a consensus on the name of Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister," said Sharad Pawar, emerging from the meeting at the National Science Centre. Seconds later, Uddhav Thackeray came out with his son Aaditya and said: "Discussions were positive, fruitful." All parties said talks would continue but for now, it is almost certain that Maharashtra will have a Sena chief after 20 years.
A crucial two-hour-long meeting of the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress concluded here on Friday evening with a call to Sena President Uddhav Thackeray to accept the post of Maharashtra Chief Minister.
Emerging from the meeting, NCP President Sharad Pawar indicated that a consensus had evolved on Thackeray’s name for the top post.
“There is unanimity on the name of Uddhav Thackeray for CM post. Now, he must take it up,” Pawar said.
On his part, Thackeray briefly said that the discussions were held in detail and efforts are on to ensure no issues are left out.
The proposed Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising the Sena-NCP-Congress is likely to hold a press conference on Saturday where the final details will be shared with the media.
“After the press conference tomorrow, we shall make attempts to stake a claim at the earliest possible opportunity,” NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik said.
As the government formation process of the three prospective allies Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress reached the final stages, a top NCP leader took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday.
NCP National Spokesperson Nawab Malik said that “finally, Sharad Pawar has outsmarted” the so-called ‘Chanakya’ of Indian politics — hinting at BJP National President Amit Shah — as the three parties appeared set to stake claim to form the Maharashtra government, almost a month since the elections got over.
Though referring to BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, without taking any names, Malik tweeted that “the throne of Delhi failed to make Maharashtra bend before it… Jai Maharashtra!…”
The BJP though feels otherwise. The silence in the saffron camps was momentarily broken when Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said that the upcoming alliance of Sena-NCP-Congress was non-viable.
“They are all parties with differing ideologies… Their government won’t last for long,” Gadkari said.
Upbeat Sena MP Sanjay Raut replying to a question whether the party would return to the NDA-fold if it was given the post of CM, said: “This is now a fight for the dignity and self-respect of Maharashtra. Now, even if we are offered the throne of (Lord) Indra, we are not interested… That time has elapsed.”
Earlier, inching towards forming the Maharashtra government, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar had a midnight rendezvous meeting with Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray.
Thackeray was accompanied by his son Aditya and party MP Sanjay Raut, at Pawar’s residence where his daughter Supriya Sule and nephew Ajit Pawar were present.
After emerging from the meeting none spoke but Thackeray smiled and Raut gave the ‘thumbs up’ sign, indicating all was on the right track.
Though details are not available, it is learnt that Pawar briefed them on all the political development in New Delhi in the past five days, the power-sharing formula, the post of CM, Dy. CM, ministries, etc, among the three prospective partners – Sena-NCP-Congress.
Later, on Friday a series of meetings have been lined up here of the Shiv Sena, Congress, later Congress-NCP and their allies and finally among the top leaders of Sena-NCP-Congress.
It’s expected that the three parties alliance – likely to be christened ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’, will be formally announced and they would soon stake the claim to form the government before Governor B. S. Koshyari.
Meanwhile, a BJP activist from Maharashtra has filed a plea in the Supreme Court against the post-poll alliance of the NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress in the state calling it an “unholy” one.
Surendra Bahadur Singh in his plea contended that voters had given a clear mandate to the BJP-Sena alliance. “The present petition seeks to stop the unholy alliance between three political parties which have all fought against each other but is trying to form a government by joining hands thereby defeating the electoral mandate,” said the plea.
The petitioner seeks the apex court orders to restrain the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari from inviting the NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress to form a government in against mandate.
As an alternative, if a government is formed against the mandate of the people, it can be declared as unconstitutional, void ab initio and therefore liable to be dismissed.
Singh contended that Shiv Sena and Bhartiya Janata Party contested the polls against the political parties National Congress Party and the Congress.
“If a coalition of Shiv Sena with the political parties against which it contested the election is allowed to form a Government, the same will result in dilution of the mandate of the public and is against constitutional ethos,” said the plea.
Singh said that there is a larger question before the court: “Whether the expression includes a group of parties that contested against each other and fought election expressly against each other in terms of ideology, policies, propaganda and manifesto?” (IANS)