NCP chief Sharad Pawar was willing to “wait it out” before staking claim to form government in Maharashtra said a Congress leader privy to discussions between the allies. Meanwhile an NCP leader HT spoke to admitted that “there was a tremendous amount of politics going on at the moment and it looks like it is all going down to the wire”. As of early Tuesday morning, Congress President Sonia Gandhi was backing NCP’s effort but it appeared that the senior Maratha politician was reassessing his options.
It is also learnt that the senior Congress strategist and Sonia loyalist Ahmed Patel won’t go to Mumbai today but party in charge for Maharashtra, Mallikarjun Kharge and general secretary, Organisation, KC Venugopal, will go. The delegation was supposed to meet Pawar to finalise agreement. The source said this could be due to “mixed signals” exchanged between the Congress, NCP and the Shiv Sena.
However, the developments, do not rule out government formation as NCP has got time till 8:30 pm to apprise the governor if it has the required numbers.
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A senior Shivsena leader told HT that till midnight on Monday, the support was all decided. ‘The Congress leaders are coming to Mumbai to support NCP and we will form government. If things have changed since then, then I am not sure,” he said.
There is no clarity if NCP would make efforts to lead the government or continue to urge the Congress to become a party of a Sena-led dispensation, if Pawar chooses to go ahead.
Shiv Sena’s bid to form government with NCP and Congress couldn’t be completed before 7:30 pm on Monday– the deadline set by Raj Bhavan–since Sonia Gandhi was not convinced with the idea of going with Sena—party’s fierce ideological foe in Maharashtra. The NCP, too, decided to hold back on its support to the Sena and consult with its pre-poll partner before any decision.