Amid the ongoing political powerplay and tussle over government formation in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday (November 19) met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in Delhi. The 15-minute meeting between Raut and Pawar took place at Pawar's 6, Janpath residence. This was the second meeting between Raut and Pawar in the last two days.
Earlier on Tuesday, Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi met senior party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, A K Antony and Ahmed Patel in Delhi to hold discussions over forming a coalition government with the NCP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. The Congress and NCP leaders from Maharashtra are scheduled to meet in Delhi on Wednesday (November 20) to hold discussions over this matter. It is learnt that the meeting will be held in the presence of Pawar and Sonia Gandhi.
In a related development, Raut told the media on Tuesday that the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress will form government in the state but it will take time. It may be recalled that on Monday (November 18) Raut had claimed that the new government in Maharashtra will come to power in the first week of December.
Notably, the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena leaders are in touch with each other over forming a coalition government in Maharashtra after the snapping of ties of between BJP and Shiv Sena over the chief minister's post. Sources claim that the Congress and the NCP are willing to support the Shiv Sena to form the government but the two parties are yet to give any concrete assurance to Sena. Congress sources said that Sonia Gandhi wants a commitment from Sena that the party will give up its hardline Hindutva agenda before giving support to Uddhav Thackeray-led party to form the government.
The NCP is also engaged in hectic parleys with both the Congress and Shiv Sena leaders but its chief Pawar, who is known for his political acumen, is still non-committal on supporting the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra. Pawar raised eyebrows on Monday (November 18) when he said at a press conference that the responsibility to form the government lies with the BJP and Shiv Sena and the Congress and the NCP are not thinking too much over this matter.
Notably, the BJP and Shiv Sena contested the October 21 Assembly polls together with the BJP finishing as the single largest party after winning 105 seats. The Shiv Sena ended at second place after winning 56 seats in 288-member Maharashtra Assembly. However, the BJP-Shiv Sena failed to form the government as Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray demanded rotational chief ministerial post, a demand rejected by the BJP. The Congress and the NCP contested the Assembly election as allies with the NCP winning 54 seats, while the Congress bagged 44.