As the tussle between Shiv Sena and BJP continues in Maharashtra over the government formation and CM chair, the Congress party seems to have sensed an opportunity to form a government as senior leaders from Maharashtra met party chief Sonia Gandhi in the national capital on Friday.
According to the reports, the Congress party is likely to adopt a ‘wait and watch’ policy as negotiations between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena over power-sharing in the state appeared to have hit a roadblock.
Meanwhile, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar will also be meeting Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on November 4, where the issue of supporting a Sena-led government will be discussed.
The Congress state leadership are reportedly keen to form an alliance with the Sena and have alerted their leadership that they should be prepared with a response to scenarios that may arise soon. The Congress top leadership, however, is not currently keen to wade into the row between the BJP-Shiv Sena tussle.
A report in Times Now stated that some Congress leaders in Maharashtra have written a letter to Sonia Gandhi favouring an alliance with the Sena.
TIMES NOW accesses the letter.
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) November 2, 2019
Reportedly, if Sena and BJP fail to reach a compromise, some of the state Congress leaders wants the party to form an alliance with NCP and Sena. However, some other leaders think it is for Sena to make the first move in this regard. Till now, Congress has not engaged with Sena, but its partner NCP has met some of Sena leaders.
Earlier, Shiv Sena had also hinted of an alliance with NCP-Congress alliance. Sanjay Raut, leader of Shiv Sena after his meeting with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, had said that the kind of situation that is prevailing in Maharashtra, all political parties are talking to each other, except Shiv Sena and BJP.
The Congress has been keeping its cards close to its chest. To discuss the political developments, Maharashtra Congress leadership on Friday met with party chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence 10 Janpath in New Delhi. The meeting held at Sonia Gandhi’s residence was attended by Ashok Chavan, Balasaheb Thorat, Manikrao Thackrey, Vijay Wadettivar, Prithviraj Chavan, KC Venugopal and Mallikarjun Kharge.
“We are waiting and watching the political drama in Maharashtra. Congress has not put forth any claim. Sena has not given us any proposal, nor has there been any dialogue with it,” former CM Ashok Chavan said. Interestingly, Chavan pointed fingers at only BJP for the deadlock as he said BJP was responsible for this situation and said the BJP is apparently not fulfilling the promises it made to Sena.
Mumbai leader Milind Deora said, “Congress will not allow itself to be used as a bargaining tool. We have been given the mandate to sit in the opposition and will fulfil that mandate.”
The Congress party prefers that Pawar should take the lead to stitch an alliance in the state. Sharad Pawar is in open contact with Sena leaders, a situation that Congress cannot afford. Another senior AICC leader said that Congress has to be ready for any situation, but a partnership with Sena only meant that NCP and Sena will form the government, with outside support from Congress.
On Friday, Shiv Sena took a U-turn and refuted reports that suggested that it may join hands with NCP-Congress alliance. Sanjay Raut stated that the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance has fought the elections together as a coalition and will abide by the alliance till their last breath.