Sena quitting NDA, to form govt with Congress-NCP support

Mumbai, Nov 11 : The Shiv Sena has decided to quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA in the Centre and would form a government in Maharashtra with the support of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Sena MP Sanjay Raut said here on Monday.

Indicating that the saffron party was nearing an understanding with the Congress-NCP, Raut urged that this was the “critical moment” for the two Opposition parties.

“We have taken the first step… It is upto them now to take a suitable measures to form the government based on a common minimum programme acceptable to all sides,” Raut said in the clearest pointer so far to the unfolding developments.

After the indecisive meeting of Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi with party leaders, including those from Maharashtra, on supporting the Shiv Sena in forming the state government, the Congress on Monday decided that it will send two leaders to Mumbai to talk to NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Former Maharashtra Congress President Manikrao Thakre said: “It has been decided that two leaders will be sent for discussions with Pawar saheb… state (Congress) leaders will also be there. The next step will be taken after the discussion.”

He also said that no letter of support has been given by the Congress to the Sena.

Meanwhile, the party’s MLAs will go back to Jaipur as Congress state in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge said that “there will be a meeting tomorrow”.

Earlier, the Congress on Monday kept on the suspense on extending support to the Shiv Sena.

After marathon meetings during the day, the Congress issued a statement saying it will hold “further discussions” with its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which was all inclined to support the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.

“We have no mandate. Those who have the mandate should do it. Our stand is made clear many times. Government formation is not an easy task, and many issues come into the picture. We still have no alliance or understanding with anybody,” senior NCP leader Praful Patel said.

Expressing the Sena’s sincerity of purpose, Raut pointed out that the party President Uddhav Thackeray has already directed the Sena’s sole nominee in the Union Cabinet, Heavy Industries Minister Arvind Sawant to quit his post.

“In view of the recent developments and the objectionable statements made by the Bharatiya Janata Party, its clear they want to keep us away from power. So what’s the point in continuing with the NDA?” Raut asked, without categorically saying that the Sena-BJP alliance has snapped – as demanded by the Congress-NCP for its backing.

Patel maintained that there was still no discussion and the party would take a decision in the matter after discussing all aspects in detail in view of the rapidly changing scenario, with party supremo Sharad Pawar on Monday morning.

The Congress leaders were likely to discuss the developments at a meeting with party chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi later in the day.

(IANS)

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