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Maharashtra govt formation: Congress plays wait-and-watch amid BJP-Sena tussle


New Delhi, Nov 01: Adopting a wait-and-watch policy, top Congress leaders from Maharashtra deliberated on the current political situation in the state on Friday as the impasse over government formation by the BJP and the Shiv Sena continued.

Uddhav Thackeray and Devendra Fadnavis

Sources said top Congress leaders from Maharashtra held meetings in the national capital and discussed the situation with party president Sonia Gandhi.

Maharashtra Congress leaders Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan, Manikrao Thakre and Balasaheb Thorat first discussed the matter with All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K C Venugopal and then with Gandhi in the evening.

After the meeting, Prithviraj Chavan and Thorat told reporters that they briefed Gandhi about the current political situation in the state.

Asked if the Congress would be part of the new government in the state, they gave a non-committal reply.

Alternate govt in Maharashtra? Uddhav-Pawar phone call creates buzzAlternate govt in Maharashtra? Uddhav-Pawar phone call creates buzz

The sources said the Congress was on "wait-and-watch" mode and was awaiting action from the Shiv Sena, which was staking claim for the chief minister's chair, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) not willing to relinquish the post.

They added that Gandhi heard the state Congress leaders and was likely to discuss the issue of government formation in Maharashtra with ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and its chief, Sharad Pawar.

The meeting was triggered after Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut met Pawar in Mumbai and staked claim for the chief minister's post.

The impasse over government formation continued in Maharashtra on Friday, eight days after the state Assembly poll results were announced, even as the Congress targeted the BJP for "cheating" the Sena.

Maharashtra might head for President's rule if the new state government was not in place by November 7, state finance minister and BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said.

The tenure of the existing Legislative Assembly ends on November 8. Mungantiwar said the delay in talks between the BJP and the Sena was due to Diwali, adding that parleys would start in a day or two.

"The people of Maharashtra have given the mandate not to any party but to the Mahayuti (the alliance comprising the BJP, the Sena and other parties)," he said, adding, "Our alliance is stronger than Fevicol or Ambuja Cement."

"A new government will have to be in place within the stipulated time or else, the president will have to intervene. President's rule will be imposed if government formation does not happen in the given time," Mungantiwar said.

The Sena has demanded immediate relief for the farmers hit by unseasonal rains in parts of Maharashtra. The state will have a chief minister from the Sena, Raut said.

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