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New political equations evolving in Maharashtra politics

After the official refusal by the BJP on government formation in Maharashtra, a new political situation is arising in state politics wherein a Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government supported by the Congress may be a possibility.

The Congress meeting at Jaipur with MLAs has empowered party interim President Sonia Gandhi to take any decision. Sources here said that most of the MLAs are keen to support a Sena-headed government with riders. The party”s state in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge will apprise Sonia Gandhi about the political situation soon.

“A possible scenario could be a Sena-NCP government supported by the Congress with the latter getting the Speaker”s post in the assembly” said a party source close to a former Maharashtra Chief Minister.

The Congress strategy will depend on the counsel of Sharad Pawar who is scheduled to meet Sonia Gandhi after the NCP legislators meet on Tuesday.

Congress sources here say that the party will only consider a dialogue with the Shiv Sena after it announces its departure from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and its lone minister Arvind Sawant resigns from the Union Cabinet.

“Congress should explore all the options available in the state,” Congress leader Hussain Dalwai said.

In a reconciliatory move of sorts, therefore, and to pave the way for a dialogue, the Shiv Sena, in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna, has said that the Congress is not an enemy of the state.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackrey on Sunday met his MLAs, who are also holed up in a hotel in Mumbai, to discuss the political situation.

In the meanwhile, all eyes,are on NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who is meeting his party MLAs on Tuesday. “We will take a call on the matter the same day,” said NCP leader Nawab Malik.

“If the BJP-Shiv Sena forms the government, we will sit in the Opposition. Otherwise we will explore options for an alternate government,” Malik said.

Senior Congress leader Milind Deora on Sunday tweeted: “Maharashtra”s Governor should invite NCP-Congress — the second largest alliance — to form the government now that the BJP-Shiv Sena have refused to do so.”

The newly elected Maharashtra Assembly is a hung house where the BJP has 105 MLAs, the Shiv Sena 56, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44.

-With the inputs of agency.

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