Monday was a day of hectic meetings and phone calls as the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress were involved in pushing through the process of government formation in Maharashtra.
After Sena leaders “expressed their willingness to form the government” but “could not submit the requisite letter of support”, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari called the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), to start the procedure.
The NCP, the third party in line in terms of the number of seats in the 288-member House, has now been given time Tuesday to shore up support.
Watch: Maharashtra deadlock: Hectic parleys underway between Sena, NCP & Cong
Here is what happened throughout the day:
1. NCP leader Jayant Patil said Governor Koshyari has given them the letter to stake claim to form government in Maharashtra. “We suggested to him that we’ll have to talk to our allies and we’ll get back to him as early as possible. Deadline is 8.30pm tomorrow,” Patil was quoted as saying by ANI.
2. The NCP was called for a meeting in Raj Bhawan after Koshyari denied a request by the Sena delegation led by Eknath Shinde and Aaditya Thackeray of two days’ time to prove support. Governor Koshyari had asked the Sena on Sunday evening to indicate “its willingness and ability” to form the government but put a 24-hour deadline to his offer.
3. The Congress held back its support to a possible Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra and declared in a statement shortly before the Sena’s deadline was to end that the Congress would need more discussions with the NCP. “The Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) has spoken with Sharad Pawar. The party will have further discussion with NCP,” Congress said in a short statement after marathon discussions over support to the Sena.
4. The official statement contradicted earlier reports emanating from the NCP camp in Mumbai that Sonia Gandhi had told Sharad Pawar that she was okay with the deal with the Shiv Sena.
5. The NCP and Congress had conditioned considering support to the Sena government on its Union minister Arvind Sawant resigning from the Union Cabinet. The Sena delivered on this condition on Monday morning, setting off deliberations in the two parties.
6. The NCP called a meeting of its top party leaders soon after in Mumbai. In New Delhi, Sonia Gandhi chaired a meeting of the Congress Working Committee that felt that the party leadership should also hear out the party’s Maharashtra leaders before firming up its stand. The Congress will now hold another round of core group meeting on Tuesday at interim party president Sonia Gandhi’s residence over Maharashtra’s political situation.
8. Sharad Pawar also met with Uddhav Thackeray at a Mumbai hotel in the afternoon before the Sena chief’s seven-minute phone call with Sonia Gandhi.
9. Sena had stepped up its efforts to form the government after the BJP, which has emerged as the single-largest party in Maharashtra assembly polls with 105 seats, declined to form the government on Sunday following differences with the former on power-sharing issues.
10. The BJP and Sena, pre-poll allies, were at loggerheads since the Maharashtra election results were announced on October 24. The two allies are in disagreement over sharing the chief minister’s post on a 50:50 basis. As the Sena was adamant on the arrangement, Devendra Fadnavis denied there was any such deal, leading to a breakdown in their talks.