Another day has passed and Maharashtra's political conundrum doesn't look like ending anytime soon. An alliance between the Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP, which looked like a done deal a few days ago, is still not official. Even as Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi met NCP Chief Sharad Pawar to discuss the possibilities, Senior Shiv Sena leader, Sanjay Raut was quoted as saying that the party could yet think of an alliance with the BJP with certain conditions met.
So many permutations and combinations give way to even more speculation as the state still awaits it's next Chief Minister, 28 days after the counting of the votes.
Sharad Pawar on Monday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence at 10, Janpath in New Delhi. In a press conference held after his meet with Sonia Gandhi, Pawar said that there was no talk between him and Sonia Gandhi about the Common Minimum Programme of a possible Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance. Pawar said that he briefed Sonia Gandhi about the political situation in Maharashtra. He added that Congress leader AK Antony was also present in the meeting. Pawar rubbished reports that a co-ordination committee had been formed for government formation in Maharashtra.
"Sharad Pawar met the Congress President today and briefed her on the situation in Maharashtra. It was decided that in a day or two, representatives from NCP and Congress will meet in Delhi to discuss the way forward," Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted after Sharad Pawar-Sonia Gandhi meet.
Sh. Sharad Pawar met the Congress President today and briefed her on the situation in Maharashtra. It was decided that in a day or two, representatives from NCP & Congress will meet in Delhi to discuss the way forward— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) November 18, 2019
Sanjay Raut meets Sharad Pawar
Hours after the meeting Sharad Pawar Sonia Gandhi, Sanjay Raut met the Maratha strongman and exuded confidence that the state would soon get a government led by his party. Talking to reporters after meeting Pawar at his residence here, Raut said he told the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief that he should lead a delegation of state leaders and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him of the farm distress in Maharashtra due to unseasonal rains.
"Since he (Pawar) was the Union agriculture minister and is also a senior leader, he should lead a delegation of leaders and meet the prime minister to apprise him about the farmers' woes in the country," Raut said.
Asked whether there were talks on government formation in Maharashtra, he parried the question, but exuded confidence and said, "The state will soon get a Sena-led government."
But then Sanjay Raut did not rule out the possibility of the resurrection of the BJP - Shiv Sena 'saffron alliance'
Union Minister Ramdas Athawale has claimed that in his talk with Sanjay Raut, a possible compromise formula of sharing the Chief Minister post in Maharashtra was discussed. "I had talked to Sanjay Raut ji about a compromise," Ramdas Athawale told news agency ANI. "I suggested a formula of 3 years CM from BJP and 2 years CM from Shiv Sena to which he said that if BJP agrees then Shiv Sena can think about it," Athawale added. He said that he would be speaking to the BJP leadership regarding the same.
Union Minister Ramdas Athawale: I had talked to Sanjay Raut ji about a compromise. I suggested him a formula of 3 years (CM from BJP) and 2 years (CM from Shiv Sena) to which he said that if BJP agrees then Shiv Sena can think about it. I will discuss this with BJP. pic.twitter.com/VRn7AiVgHF— ANI (@ANI) November 18, 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address on the 250th session of the Rajya Sabha on Monday had a Maharashtra connection as well. PM Modi praised Sharad Pawar's NCP -- a kingmaker in Maharashtra, sparking speculation amid the political deadlock in the state. The prime minister lauded the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for adhering to parliamentary norms by not entering the Well of the House. He said people's hearts can be won by political parties even without rushing to the Well of the House to register their protest on various issues.
"Today, I want to appreciate two parties, NCP and BJD. These parties have wonderfully adhered to parliamentary norms. They have never ventured into the well. They have made their points very effectively. Much can be learned from these practices, " the prime minister said today.
With such uncertainties, what will Maharashtra's next assembly look like is still anyone's guess.