Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut drove down to Nationalist Congress Party boss Sharad Pawar’s South Mumbai residence for a meeting on Wednesday morning. This is Raut’s second meeting with Sharad Pawar after the Maharashtra election results were declared last month.
The first one had triggered speculation, much of it fuelled by Shiv Sena leaders, that the NDA ally could consider teaming up with opposition parties such as Pawar’s NCP if the BJP doesn’t agree to its demand to share the chief minister’s post.
Since then, NCP leaders have also spoken about this option but stressed that the party did not really have a formal proposal from the Sena. This week, Sharad Pawar also flew down to Delhi to brief Congress president Sonia Gandhi about the political situation and the options before the NCP-Congress combine.
Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have been less than enthusiastic about being on the same team as the Sena, its traditional rival in Maharashtra. That view could prevail over the
As he emerged out of Sharad Pawar’s residence, Sanjay Raut described it as a “courtesy visit like always”.
The two leaders did discuss politics.
“Pawar expressed concern on the unstable political scenario in the state,” Raut said.
“He (Pawar) is also firm that the mandate given by the people to his party is to be in the Opposition,” Raut said, declining to elaborate if the possibility of an arrangement with the NCP was still on the table.
Raut’s second meeting with Sharad Pawar comes at a time its alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party appears to be making renewed attempts to end the deadlock with the Sena. The BJP is still unwilling to share the chief minister’s chair but its leaders have indicated that the party, the senior partner in the alliance, could discuss everything else.