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Maharashtra Congress leaders meet Sonia Gandhi amid BJP-Shiv Sena tussle, no decision yet

On the question of supporting Shiv Sena in govt formation in Maharashtra, no decision was taken, said sources.

Maharashtra Congress leaders meet Sonia Gandhi amid BJP-Shiv Sena tussle, no decision yet

NEW DELHI: Top Congress leaders from Maharashtra met their interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday to discuss party's strategy in the face of the ongoing tug-of-war between the Shiv-Sena and the BJP over government formation in the state.

According to reports, former chief ministers Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan and state Congress president Bala Sahab Thorat, Vijay Vadettiwar, Manikrao Thackeray, Mallikarjun Kharge, party general secretary KC Venu Gopal and many others were present during their meeting with Sonia Gandhi.

During their meeting, the Maharashtra Congress leaders briefed Sonia Gandhi about the political situation in the wake of ongoing tussle between Shiv Sena and BJP over power-sharing in the state. 

Coming out of the meeting, Thorat, who is state Congress chief, said they briefed her about the party`s performance in the state in the assembly elections. "We briefed the party president all about the elections. We also briefed her about the present political situation in the state," he said. 

Chavan, a former chief minister of the state, said the outcome of assembly polls was discussed in the meeting.

On the question of supporting Shiv Sena in government formation, no decision was taken, said sources.

They said that any decision in this regard could be taken after a meeting between Sonia Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar on November 4 in New Delhi.

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It may be recalled that the group had on Thursday met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and discussed with him the possible political scenario. 

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had also met Pawar and discussed the political situation in the state.

At the moment, the Congress party has adopted a wait and watch policy on the BJP-Shiv Sena catfight and is resisting opening its cards till things become clear.

The party leaders are hopeful of the Shiv Sena ultimately breaking the alliance. 

"The Shiv Sena is now a hard nut to crack for the BJP. It will not concede its demand of a rotational chief minister," Congress party spokesperson Meem Afzal said.

Congress has been out of power in Maharashtra since 2014. Sources said that a section of its leaders are of the view that it should announce unconditional support to the Shiv Sena and stake claim to form the government.

"But the party is not in a hurry as it is waiting for the final outcome of the fight between the BJP and the Shiv Sena," said a party leader.

"The Congress is also a bit wary of the NCP. In 2014, the NCP had bailed out the BJP government till the Shiv Sena joined the alliance," said the leader.

"However, the NCP is our alliance partner and any decision will be taken after taking due advice from Sharad Pawar," said a senior Congress leader. 

The BJP won 105 seats in the 288-member assembly and Shiv Sena 56 seats. The Shiv Sena has said that the two parties had agreed to a 50-50 power-sharing agreement.

However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said the ally was not promised the chief minister`s post for two-and-a-half years when the alliance was finalised before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The NCP won 54 seats in the assembly while the Congress won 44 seats in the assembly polls.