Maharashtra: NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress alliance likely to form government Friday

Maharashtra: NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress alliance likely to form government tomorrow
NCP president Sharad Pawar, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

New Delhi: The stage is set for a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena and Congress coalition government in Maharashtra with the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the party, deciding to join the government on Thursday.

Sources said that the three parties will meet on Friday to announce the formation of alliance.

On Wednesday, the Congress and NCP leaders held a marathon five-hour meeting and a Common Minimum Programme was agreed upon with Shiv Sena leaders over the phone.

Maharashtra plunged into a political crisis after the Sena broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after its partner refused to accede to its demand of sharing the chief minister's post.

The BJP and Sena, which fought the October 21 assembly polls in alliance, had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member assembly. The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats, respectively.

The Sena then began talks with the Congress-NCP alliance.

Maharashtra: NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress alliance likely to form government tomorrow
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and others during a meeting regarding government formation in Maharashtra, at Pawar's residence in New Delhi, Wednesday. Photo: PTI

The Congress-NCP alliance on Wednesday gave its most categorical indication about joining hands with arch rival Shiv Sena, with former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan expressing confidence of forming a "stable" government soon in the state after a marathon meeting of senior leaders of the two parties here.

While the Congress leader hoped that political uncertainty will soon end in Maharashtra, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik was unambiguous about the need to join hands with the Sena, asserting that a government cannot be formed in the state without the three parties coming together.

This is the most emphatic public statement by the Congress-NCP combine about their intent to join hands with the Sena to form a government.

A senior NCP leader said a government is likely to be formed before the first phase of the Jharkhand polls scheduled on November 30.

NCP sources said the chief minister's post is most likely to be on a rotational basis, with the first half to be given to the Shiv Sena and the latter to the Nationalist Congress Party.

The Congress is likely to have the deputy chief minister's post for the full five-year term, they said.

(With IANS and PTI inputs)

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