New Delhi / Congress undecided on Sena support, to consult Maharashtra leaders at 4 pm

Hindustan Times : Nov 11, 2019, 01:22 PM

The Congress on Monday summoned its senior leaders in Maharashtra to Delhi to discuss the possibility of extending support to Shiv Sena to form a government in the state.

The top leadership of Congress met in Delhi on Monday morning and will meet again in the evening. “At 4 pm, we will meet again. All senior Maharashtra leaders have been called to Delhi for consultations,” senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said.

Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) also held discussions with its senior leaders in Mumbai. Senior NCP leader Nawab Malik said they will wait for Congress to take a decision after meeting its leaders in the evening.

“We are waiting for Congress to take a decision. We fought elections together and whatever will be decided, it will be decided together,” Malik said.

He said Congress MLAs are in favour of supporting Shiv Sena-led government, but added that the Congress leadership will take a final call.

A Congress leader, who didn’t wish to be named, said most of the newly elected Congress MLAs, who are lodged in a Jaipur resort, have expressed their willingness to participate in the government in the state.

According to a party leader, though the central leadership was not in favour of participation in the government, it may provide outside support to the Sena government.

Former chief minister Ashok Chavan had said on Sunday that Congress “doesn’t want President’s rule in Maharashtra”.

Congress has to convey its decision to Sena before the deadline given by the Governor to express the willingness to form the government ends on Monday evening. Congress has 44 members in Maharashtra assembly, while its ally NCP has 54. BJP and Shiv Sena have won 105 and 56 MLAs.

Shiv Sena was on Sunday invited to form a government in Maharashtra by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari after BJP expressed its unwillingness to do so.

BJP and Sena, pre-poll allies, have been at loggerheads since the Maharashtra election results were announced on October 24. Sena says the two parties had agreed to share the chief minister’s post under a “50-50” power-sharing formula. BJP maintains that it has never agreed to such a plan.