Maharashtra has been in limbo post-Assembly elections. While BJP and Shiv Sena, the ideological allies had a fall out over Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena demanding the Chief Minister position, the erstwhile Hindutva party has now allied with Sonia Gandhi led Congress and Sharad Pawar led NCP. According to media reports, the three parties have reached a broad consensus on a Common Minimum Program (CMP) where Hindutva has been dropped like a hot potato and the cause of minorities, farmers have taken the spotlight.
According to a report in the Times of India, a 40 point Common Minimum Program has been reached by the three parties. The CMP is now expected to be circulated to the party chiefs who will discuss the finer points over the weekend. A final word on CMP is expected to be reached on 19th November 2019. Interestingly, there were 3 meetings that took place to decide the CMP. In two of the meetings, Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP were all present, however, in one meeting, only Congress and NCP were present. According to TOI, Shiv Sena is likely to get 16 cabinet members, NCP 14 and Congress 12. The Speaker is likely to be from Congress and will get a deputy from Sena, while the legislative council chairman’s post will go to NCP, with the deputy’s chair, again, for Sena.
However, a report in India Today claims that Shiv Sena is going to get a full term Chief Minister with Congress and NCP electing one Deputy CM each. The report also says that Shiv Sena and NCP will get 14 Cabinet Ministers each while Congress is likely to get 12.
However, on the post of CM, TOI quotes a senior Congress leader as saying: “Shiv Sena has staked a claim for the CM’s post. It is not yet clear if it will be for five years or it will be by rotation for two and half years, or it should be for an equal period among Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP.”
Media reports have also given broad indicators as to what the agenda for CMP between the three parties is. Broadly, it appears that in their thirst for power, Shiv Sena seems to have given up on the Hindutva cause. In fact, if reports are to be believed, Congress and NCP want an assurance from Shiv Sena that their Hindutva agenda is going to take a back-seat once the government is formed. The demands are that Shiv Sena too needs to agree to be a part of a secular government, reported Jagran.
The reports indicate that the central focus of the CMP is going to be minorities and farmers. The CMP mentions the welfare of minorities, loan waiver for farmers, tracking of wet droughts, the revival of closed and sick industries, action plan for employment generation etc.
Interestingly, a journalist had recently claimed that 5% reservation for Muslims was to be a part of the Common Minimum Program reached by the three parties.
Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan has reportedly said, “We took note of Shiv Sena’s manifesto as well as our own manifesto and drafted the CMP. It is not an election manifesto, but an action plan for providing clean and transparent administration. Contentious issues have been dropped”.
Recently, several Shiv Sena MLAs had revolted saying that the entire party is suffering because Uddhav Thackeray is hankering for the Chief Minister position. The revolting MLAs had reportedly left the resort they were being holed up in due to fear of poaching by BJP.