A new power-sharing formula is being considered by the Shiv Sena, NCP, and the Congress – who are likely to come together to form a government in Maharashtra after ironing out certain details.
Despite securing enough seats, the pre-poll alliance between the BJP and Shiv Sena fell through following a disagreement over power-sharing, with the Uddhav Thackeray-led party insisting on the chief minister’s post.
Since no party came forward to stake claim after the results were declared, the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the single largest party – BJP – to form government in the state.
With the BJP backing out of the race due to lack of numbers, the Governor invited Shiv Sena and later the NCP to stake claim but neither could get enough signatures to cross the halfway mark amid alleged dillydallying by the Congress.
The Governor subsequently recommended the imposition of President’s Rule following the political stalemate in the state, which was approved by the President on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the three-decade-old alliance between the BJP and Shiv Sena came to an end earlier this week with the resignation of Sena’s sole MP and Heavy Industries Minister Arvind Sawant from the Union Cabinet.
The party has now reached out to NCP in a bid to work out a deal, which would allow it to stay in power and install its CM for at least half of the five-year tenure.
With the fate of the state hanging in the balance, the NCP and Congress, who fought the elections together against the BJP-Sena combine have now formed high-level committees to discuss government formation and a power-sharing formula with Sena.
At present, Congress’ Ahmed Patel and NCP President Sharad Pawar are engrossed in discussions over the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), which would allow them to identify agreeable and contentious areas in their respective manifestos.
“We will discuss with senior Congress leaders regarding Common Minimum Programme and also discuss with Prithviraj Chavan, Ashok Chavan, Vijay Waddetiwar, Balasaheb Thorat & others,” Ajit Pawar told media after the NCP core committee meeting today.
“As far as discussions regarding Shiv Sena goes, we will do that only after discussions between alliance partners as we had a common manifesto. Shiv Sena’s manifesto was different and therefore we will first have an understanding with Congress and then go ahead with discussions on Shiv Sena,” he added.
A complete waiver of farm loans, reviewing the implementation of the crop insurance and related schemes, boosting the agricultural produce market commodities, etc are some of the areas where the parties share common goals.
Some of the contentious issues include the five percent reservations for the Muslim communities, Sena’s demand for conferring a Bharat Ratna on Veer Savarkar, its perceived ‘Hindutva’ and non-inclusive stance among others.
Under the new upcoming scenario, an initial formula discussed was Shiv Sena and NCP would share the post of CM for 30 months each with Congress keeping the Deputy Chief Minister post for the full tenure of 60 months, sources in various parties revealed.
Then a new formula was floated from the Congress side – the three parties sharing the CM’s term for 20 months each and also rotating the Deputy Chief Minister for a like period by all parties. But, Sena President Uddhav Thackeray rejected it outright.
A counter suggestion was to give Sena 30 months, while the NCP-Congress could share it for 15 months each and also divide the post of Deputy Chief Minister among themselves.
The most likely scenario at this point entails the parties coming together under the banner of ‘Maha Shiv Aghadi’, with a Sena CM helming affairs for the first 30 months, followed by an NCP nominee. The Congress is likely to get the Deputy CM post for all five years.
Incidentally, the BJP has not entirely given up on forming government in the state. Sources say the party has deployed Sena’s nemesis and former CM Narayan Rane, to help it muster the magical 145 majority figure.
However, the move may have come too late, with Sena and NCP both wasting little time in consolidating their alliance and taking steps to prevent any possible defections.