All the speculations over the formation of government in Maharashtra will end next week when parleys between the Congress and NCP conclude with the consent of Shiv Sena leaders at the behest of or under the aegis of political veteran Sharad Pawar. The State is under President’s rule these days.
Pawar has said that the government will definitely be formed soon and will run for five years. For this, it is necessary that all three parties join the government. It has been decided that Shiv Sena and NCP will each have a two-and-a-half-year long chief minister. As for the number of ministers, it is almost certain that Shiv Sena and NCP will have 14 ministers each while this government will have 12 ministers as well as the Assembly Speaker from the Congress.
The only glitch now is the mistrust between Shiv Sena and NCP leaders. Sena is not too keen on a Congress MLA becoming the Speaker. In the common minimum programme that is being drafted involving all the three parties, Shiv Sena has been forced to give up its demand for a Bharat Ratna to Vinayak Damodar (Veer) Savarkar. Both NCP and the Congress have told the Shiv Sena it will have to forgo Hindutva. On the matter of Ayodhya, the Congress and NCP have advised the Shiv Sena to exercise some restraint.
Muslim quota to resurface in Maharashtra
Pawar and messengers of Sonia Gandhi, sources say, have told the Sena they are re-implementing 5% reservation for Muslims in Maharashtra.
The new Maharashtra industrial policy will include a quota for the local youth, which was Shiv Sena’s demand. A provision of monthly unemployment allowance to the unemployed youth will be added to the policy.
There is no decision on a debt waiver for farmers yet, but there is no objection to the idea in principle. The three parties are discussing the extent of the proposed waiver. The crop insurance scheme will be implemented immediately. Pawar has been talking about the loss of farmers due to excessive rains during and after the Assembly election and is constantly meeting farmers to cultivate that constituency.
A daily meal scheme for the poor entailing a plate of food for Rs 10 on the lines of Amma Canteen in Tamil Nadu has been finalised.
There will be a meeting between Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar in Delhi on these issues of the common minimum programme where the draft will be finalised. Pawar is currently out of Mumbai; he will reach the Maharashtra capital on Sunday. On Monday, he will be in Delhi for the winter session of Parliament, where he is scheduled to meet Sonia Gandhi on 18 or 19 November.
The process of forming a government in Maharashtra will intensify and conclude next week and the new government will be sworn in within the next 10 days, sources said.