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Uddhav Thackeray to lead new Maharashtra govt, says Sharad Pawar after Sena, Cong, NCP meet

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Mumbai, Nov 22: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar who was the first to walk out after the meeting ended at Mumbai's Nehru Centre, on Friday said that Uddhav Thackeray has been unanimously picked to lead the Maharashtra government.

His statement came after the leaders of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress held talks to chalk out the final contours of the alliance.

Congress and NCP leadership on Friday discussed Common Minimum Programme (CMP) and power- sharing arrangement with Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray as the process of government formation in Maharashtra involving the three parties gathered pace.

Uddhav Thackeray to lead new Maharashtra govt, says Sharad Pawar after Sena, Cong, NCP meet

Coming out of the venue as the meeting ends, Uddhav Thackeray said, "We have decided on the future course of Maharashtra.''

The Congress and Sharad Pawar's NCP have made it clear that it would be best if Uddhav Thackeray, the 59-year-old supremo of the Sena, assumes the chief minister's chair.

Senior Congress leader Manikrao Thakare told PTI that Friday's meeting of top Congress, NCP and Sena leaders was part of efforts by the three parties to evolve a consensus on development agenda for governance for the prospective ruling coalition.

"The draft of CMP and power-sharing arrangement worked out by the Congress-NCP is being discussed with the Shiv Sena leadership. Based on what has been agreed upon and any suggestions to be incorporated is being worked out further," said the former Maharashtra Congress chief.

Top leaders of the Sena, the Congress and the NCP met on Friday to give shape to new government to be led by the Uddhav Thackeray-headed party, nearly a month after assembly poll results were announced.

Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai, Sanjay Raut (all Shiv Sena), Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge, K C Venugopal, Avinash Pande, Balasaheb Thorat, Prithviraj Chavan (Congress), Praful Patel, Jayant Patil and Ajit Pawar (NCP) took part in the meeting.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray also attended the deliberations at Nehru Centre in Central Mumbai. The state has been facing a political crisis after the Sena broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister's post.

The BJP and the Sena, which fought the Assembly polls in alliance, had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member Assembly.

The NCP and the Congress, pre-poll allies, won 54 and 44 seats, respectively. The combined tally of the Sena, the NCP and the Congress is way beyond the majority mark of 145. The state is currently under President's rule.

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