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Wednesday 8 April 2020

Ajit Pawar reduces Shiv Sena’s manoeuvring radius

If Ajit Pawar is honest about the role of the NCP and the Congress for the next five years, the Shiv Sena is left with the BJP alone to negotiate with for power

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Amid the ongoing political tussle between the BJP and Shiv Sena on the issue of government formation in Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) politician Ajit Pawar has said that his party and allies will, along with the Congress, play the role of opposition for the coming five years. Pawar said that it was clear from the result of the election that his party had got a mandate to be in the opposition and he will do the same.

Ajit Pawar made the remarks on Thursday in the night after a meeting with top NCP leaders at the residence of party president Sharad Pawar. His remarks come at a time when there is speculation that the Shiv Sena and the NCP might form government in Maharashtra and the Congress would support them from outside.

The NCP has won 54 seats in the State Assembly and Congress has won 44 seats. The BJP has won 105 seats and Shiv Sena 56 seats. Ajit Pawar refused to comment on the ongoing tussle between the Shiv Sena and the BJP. He said that BJP and Shiv Sena can reach a conclusion by discussing the formation of the government.

Ajit Pawar said that the NCP, Congress and other allies would meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in a day or two to address the issue of crop failure. Maharashtra Congress president Babasaheb Thorat, former Chief Ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan met Sharad Pawar on Thursday in the morning. Later, the three left for Delhi to meet party president Sonia Gandhi who met with two other Congress leaders in Delhi on Friday in the afternoon.

Ajit Pawar dashes Sanjay Raut’s hope

The statement of the second-most important leader of the NCP has rendered meaningless the remark by Shiv Sena politician and Saamana editor Sanjay Raut. According to Raut, Uddhav Thackeray has said that the next chief minister of the State would be from Shiv Sena and he was adamant on this matter. Uddhav Thackeray reportedly said this in a meeting of his party. He said that a “50-50 formula” was decided between BJP and Shiv Sena at the time of the Lok Sabha election and the BJP would have to stick to it.

On the other hand, BJP said that no such formula was fixed for power-sharing and that the talks were merely for seat-sharing to contest the elections. Thackeray said, “When BJP does not want to proceed on the pre-determined formula, there is no question of any kind of dialogue. The chief minister should not speak like this since both Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis were present with me in that meeting.”

However, Raut’s statement that if the Shiv Sena makes up its mind, then it will get a majority to form the government, is now meaningless if Ajit Pawar is honestly saying that the NCP and the Congress will play the role of opposition parties. The Sena is now left with no option other than the BJP to negotiate the numbers required in the Maharashtra Assembly.

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