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Congress remains undecided over backing Shiv Sena, Sonia to meet top leaders today

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Mumbai, Nov 11: The Congress remained undecided over backing Shiv Sena in Maharashtra as the working committee of the party Congress Working Committee (CWC) met in Delhi on Monday.

The party's top decision-making body, has authorised party president Sonia Gandhi to take the final call.

Sonia Gandhi

All eyes are now on Sonia Gandhi and Congress's ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Sharad Pawar stressing that it will decide on whether and how to support the Sena only when the Congress arrives at its decision.

After hours of deliberations, the Congress decided to hold further talks with ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), while keeping its options open on participation in the new government.

This comes after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari refused further time to Shiv Sena after its deadline to form a government ended at 7.30 PM on Monday. He has now given 24 hours time to the NCP to form a government.

"The Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) has spoken to Sharad Pawarji. The party will have further discussions with the NCP," a statement issued by Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said after the second meeting of Congress leaders.

Maharashtra impasse: Guv refused to give us more time, talks with Cong-NCP on, says Aaditya

After two crucial meetings, the top leaders of the party preferred to have a detailed discussions with the NCP on the political impasse in the state.

"The Congress Working Committee met this morning and held a detailed discussion on the situation in Maharashtra after which a consultation was held with Maharashtra Congress leaders," the statement further said.

In a telephonic conversation with Sonia Gandhi, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray sought her party''s support to form government, but she did not commit anything to him, the sources said.

"No letter of support has been given to the Shiv Sena over government formation. The Congress has not taken any decision on supporting the Shiv Sena on government formation," Venugopal told PTI.

Asked about the telephonic conversation between Sonia Gandhi and Thackeray, he said it was a "courtesy call" and only pleasantries were exchanged but no commitment was made.

Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have told Thackeray that she is yet to talk to Congress MLAs in the state and no decision has been taken yet on whether to lend support to the Sena, the sources said.

Reports say that a section within the party is against extending support to the Shiv Sena which is ideologically opposite to it and the party fears suffering electoral losses in future if it is seen supporting an extreme right-wing outfit like Sena.

Insiders say the Congress is still mulling the pros and cons of support to the Sena as its party MLAs are keen to have a say in the government and do not want fresh election.

The Sena is the second largest party in the 288-member House with 56 MLAs after the BJP (105).

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