As the suspense over the formation of government in Maharashtra continued, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut asserted that a ‘strong and stable’ government will be formed in Maharashtra by his party soon. The statement came a day after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in national capital Delhi, said they did not discuss a possible alliance with Sena.
“A Shiv Sena-led government will be formed in Maharashtra soon. It will be a stable, strong and effective government… We want Uddhav Thackerey to lead the government,” Sanjay Raut told a press conference in New Delhi.
The Sena has been in talks with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress after it broke up with the Bharatiya Janata Party, which emerged as the single largest party in last month’s state elections, over its refusal to share the chief minister’s chair.
President’s rule was imposed in Maharashtra on November 12 after the three parties – Sena on one side and the NCP-Congress, on the other – were not able to conclude their negotiations on the power sharing pact. The NCP and Congress combine has 98 seats in the 288-member assembly but is widely believed to be okay with the prospect of a Sena chief minister.
The Sena leader’s vote of confidence for the alliance between the three parties came a day after Pawar added to the confusion over the power play in Maharashtra. Pawar told reporters that he had only briefed Sonia Gandhi about the current political situation in Maharashtra and underlined that a possible common minimum programme (CMP) for an alliance with Sena did not figure,
“There was no talk of government formation in our meeting; this was all about discussing Congress and NCP,” Pawar had said.
Sanjay Raut insisted that there was no “confusion” over the alliance with NCP and Congress and government formation. He also came up with his interpretation of Pawar’s redirecting questions about government formation to the Sena camp.
Pawar did not say anything wrong when he said Shiv Sena should be asked about government formation, Raut said.
He explained. “Shiv Sena is the largest party and the government will be formed under the leadership of Shiv Sena so there is nothing wrong in what Pawar saheb said… It will take a 100 years for you to understand what Pawar saheb says,” Raut said.
The Shiv Sena leader had yesterday rushed to meet Sharad Pawar after his meeting with Sonia Gandhi. Raut claimed politics or government formation wasn’t on the top-of-mind at this meeting, but the plight of farmers. Raut said he had asked Pawar to apprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the farmers’ distress in the state due to unseasonal rains.
Raut also slammed union minister and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale for attempting to negotiate a power-sharing formula between the Sena and BJP. Athawale had yesterday gone public with his effort to broker peace between the Shiv Sena and the BJP. He had claimed that Raut was open to considering his suggestion that the BJP keep the chief minister’s chair for three years and let the Sena rule for the remaining two years.
Sanjay Raut told him off. “He is a Minister of State in the central government. He should focus on himself and not worry about Shiv Sena. We don’t need anyone’s interference,” he said.