The Congress and the NCP on Thursday inched closer to form a government along with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra as they were thrashing out the nitty gritty of power sharing and finalising a common minimum programme to govern the politically-crucial state. In a meeting, the Congress Working Committee, the party's highest decision making body, after a detailed deliberation on the political situation in Maharashtra, gave its approval to join hands with the Sena in the state, party sources told PTI.
After the meeting, which was chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress sources said the finer details on the government formation in Maharashtra is expected by Friday.
On Wednesday, the Congress-NCP alliance gave its most categorical indication about joining hands with arch rival Shiv Sena, with former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan expressing confidence of forming a "stable" government soon in the state after a marathon meeting of senior leaders of the two parties here.
Several top leaders of the two parties again met at NCP chief Sharad Pawar's residence on Thursday afternoon to hammer out the common minimum programme of governance, sources said.
Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh and Mallikarjun Kharge, and NCP leaders Praful Patel, Supriya Sule, Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil and Nawab Malik were part of the meeting.
Sources said the three parties are likely to make a formal announcement on Friday to join hands to take a shot at power in the state.
The three parties are then likely to send separate letters to the Maharashtra governor mentioning their decision to come together to form a government, said a source.
Earlier, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut exuded confidence that the two parties, along with the Congress, will arrive at a decision on government formation in a day or two.
He also told reporters that there are no plans of any meeting between Sonia Gandhi and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray this week.
A senior NCP leader on Wednesday said that the government is likely to be formed before the first phase of the Jharkhand Assembly polls scheduled on November 30.
The state was plunged into a political crisis after the Sena broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after its partner refused to accede to its demand of sharing the chief minister's post.
The BJP and Sena, which fought the October 21 assembly polls in alliance, had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member assembly. The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats, respectively.
The Sena then began talks with the Congress-NCP alliance.