With the alliance between Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress shaping up to form a government in Maharashtra, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that the Constitution of India operates on the word ‘secular’.
Raut, who was asked about reports that secularism was a sticking point in forging an alliance with the Congress and NCP, said the country and the Constitution operate on the word ‘Secular’.
“Even today, when relief is given to farmers or jobs are given to youth, it is not done on the lines of religion or caste or creed. Balasaheb Thackeray was probably the only leader in the country who asked to stop the swearing on holy books in our courts if the country is secular. He said sworn testimonies should be done by placing a hand on the Constitution instead,” the Sena leader said.
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The Sena, Congress and NCP have been in talks to firm up a brand-new alliance in Maharashtra between the Sena, which has been associated with Hindutva politics, and the Congress-NCP front.
There have been reports that the common minimum programme (CMP) that is under discussion would mention the world, secularism to indicate that the Congress-NCP combine hasn’t diluted its stand on the issue. It is expected that the Sena will come around to it to accommodate its new allies.
Raut also stressed that a final decision on the new government in Maharashtra will be taken in the next two days. The process to form a government would be completed before December 1, and that the three parties concerned would hold a meeting in Mumbai, he added.
Raut, however, did not comment on the power-sharing of the parties. He added that he was unaware if the NCP is seeking to share the CM post for two-and-a-half years. “We don’t know if the NCP wants to share the CM post. Don’t create confusion, all three parties want to run the government for five years,” he said.
He added that discussions on power sharing will be held in Mumbai by the three parties.”
Raut is expected to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday afternoon and discuss the details of the marathon meeting held between the former party and Congress till late Wednesday night in Delhi.
“Following the meeting yesterday, senior leaders of the two parties spoke to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on the phone,” he said.