No mid-term polls; Sena-NCP-Cong govt to last 5 years, says Sharad Pawar
Nagpur, Nov 15: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday said a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will be formed and it will complete five-year term as he ruled out the possibility of mid-term polls in Maharashtra which is currently under Presidents rule. He said the three parties want to form a stable government which will be development-oriented. There is no possibility of mid-term polls. This government will be formed and it will complete five years. We all will ensure this government runs for five years, Pawar told reporters.
Asked whether the BJP was holding discussion with the NCP over government formation in the state, the former Union minister said his party was holding talks with only the Sena, the Congress and its allies and nobody beyond these. He said the three parties are at present working out a common minimum programme (CMP) that will guide the actions of the government being planned in the state. Representatives of the three parties met in Mumbai on Thursday and prepared a draft CMP.
Pawar took a dig at former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis remark that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will not survive for more than six months. I know Devendra ji for some years. But I did not know he is a student of astrology too, Pawar quipped. Pawar took a jibe at Fadnavis over his mi punha yein (I will come again) remark. It is alright he said it. I was thinking something else all the while: I will come again, I will come again, I will come again. Now, you (the reporter) is giving some other information, he added.
Asked whether his party will support the Hindutva issue if the Shiv Sena raises it while forming the government, Pawar said the Congress and NCP held a meeting with leaders of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party on Thursday to discuss the CMP. The 78-year-old Maratha strongman said the Congress and the NCP aways talk about secularism. I was not there (in the Thursday meeting), my colleagues were there. I will know about what discussion took place. But it is true, the Congress or NCP always talk about secularism. We are not against Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism. But we are the people who insist on secularism when it comes to running a government. I dont know yet what was the discussion among our allies on this issue, he said.
The former Union agriculture minister, who visited some villages in the district to assess the damage caused to crops due to untimely rains, said he will raise the issue of assistance to farmers before the Centre. The Sena reached out to the Congress-NCP combine for government formation after its demand for sharing the chief minister's post and equal distribution of portfolios was rejected by the BJP, its pre-poll ally.
The BJP and the Sena, which fought the October 21 polls in alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member assembly. The Congress and the NCP won 44 and 54 seats, respectively. President's rule was imposed in the state on Tuesday after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari sent a report to the Centre, stating that formation of a stable government was impossible in the current situation. At a meeting on Thursday, leaders of the Congress, the NCP and the Sena prepared a draft CMP, which will be forwarded for approval to top leaders of the three parties. The meeting was attended by Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and party's chief spokesperson Nawab Malik; Congress leaders Prithviraj Chavan, Manikrao Thakare and Vijay Wadettiwar, and Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai of the Shiv Sena.