NCP chief Sharad Pawar Wednesday ruled out playing any role in the government formation in Maharashtra, stating that his party and its ally Congress have the mandate to sit in the opposition.
“I don’t have a role to play in government formation. People have given us the mandate to sit in the opposition and we are ready to play our role effectively. I am not involved in any role in government formation. I am not in Mumbai for the next few days as I will be travelling to Pune, Satara, Karad,” Pawar told reporters in Mumbai, following his meeting with senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.
While the NCP patriarch said the meeting with Raut was regarding issues pertaining to the forthcoming Rajya sabha session, Pawar pointed out that NCP and Congress do not have the mandate to form the government. “If we had the numbers we would not have waited for anyone,” he added.
His meeting with Raut, the second in a week, came in the backdrop of the ongoing political deadlock between the BJP and the Shiv Sena over the government formation in Maharashtra, despite both the parties winning a simple majority in the October 21 Assembly elections. The Sena, which has been demanding rotational chief ministership, has been hinting that it was in touch with both the NCP and Congress.
Commenting on the BJP-Sena rift over power-sharing, Pawar said, “Sena-BJP have been in an alliance for the last 25 years. I am sure that today or tomorrow they will come together.”
The latest development came a day after the BJP had offered to hold open discussions with its warring ally Shiv Sena over power-sharing, but at the same time made it clear that there would no compromise on the post of the chief minister.
After a meeting senior BJP leaders at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s residence Varsha in Mumbai, state party president Chandrakant Patil had said, “Voters in Maharashtra have given the mandate to BJP and Shiv Sena and therefore, we will form the government. Sena has not given any proposal for forming the government from its side… they will give us a proposal as early as possible. For holding discussion the proposal, BJP’s doors are open 24 hours.”
Raut, earlier in the day, had said Sena received no fresh proposal from the BJP and claimed that there was a “consensus” between the BJP and his party before the Maharashtra Assembly elections on sharing the chief minister’s post. He further said that the Sena expects the implementation of what was decided and agreed upon before the elections.
“Why waste time on new proposals. We want a discussion on what was agreed upon earlier. No new proposal has been received or sent,” he said. On the possibility of imposition of President’s rule in the state, Raut said, “We will not be responsible for it. Those conspiring to do this are insulting the people’s mandate.”
The BJP and the Sena won a total of 161 seats in the 288-member House, much above the halfway mark of 145. On the contrary, the opposition NCP won 54 seats while the Congress got 44 seats.
Earlier on Monday, Pawar had met Congress president Sonia Gandhi. After the meeting, he had signalled that the two parties are keeping all their options open. He said the NCP and Congress don’t have the numbers to form an alternative government “as on today” but added he “can’t say what will happen” in the future.