The entire top brass of the Maharashtra state Congress met Pawar at his residence in south Mumbai Friday. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut too met Pawar twice in a day — once early in the morning and later in the evening after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis submitted his resignation and criticised the Shiv Sena for its reluctance to hold talks with the BJP.
The NCP has finished third in the elections, but it was largely due to Pawar’s assertive leadership that the party managed to improve its winning tally from 41 seats in 2014 to 54 this year. Pawar’s power moves over the past week has consolidated his position as one of the leaders who could trip the BJP in Maharashtra with his political acumen.
“This is an unprecedented political situation in Maharashtra and we came to meet Sharad Pawar as we wanted to discuss the political happenings in the state as he has fortitude and immense political experience,” state Congress President Balasaheb Thorat said after meeting Pawar.
Pawar and NCP state president Jayant Patil held meetings with three former chief ministers — Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan — besides meeting the state Congress chief.
Congress leaders, however, claimed that there was no discussion on the two parties forming the government in the state.
“We do not have the numbers. The BJP has the largest seats and it should fulfil its responsibility of forming the government. As of now we are waiting for the governor’s next move. We have not finalised our strategy so far,” Thorat said.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Pawar had also met with Union Minister Ramdas Athawale. After the meeting, Pawar had reiterated his position that the NCP would stay in the opposition.