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Amid 50-50 tussle in Maharashtra, Congress, NCP may offer ‘support’ to Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena has been playing hardball with BJP after its performance in the assembly polls demanding the implementation of 50-50 alliance formula in the state.

SNS | New Delhi |

Buoyed by unexpected results in the October 21 Assembly elections, the Maharashtra Congress and NCP on Friday hinted that it could offer “support” to a Shiv Sena-led government.

The indication came a day after senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and ex-Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and senior Congress MP Hussain Dalwai extended similar proposals, ostensibly in a bid to keep Sena ally and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power.

“We have not received any communication from the Sena on this yet. However, if it comes, we shall put it up with the party high command for a decision in the matter,” state Congress President Balasaheb Thorat told mediapersons.

However, Thorat later on Friday ruled out any proposal to join Shiv Sena to keep Bharatiya Janata Party out of power in Maharashtra.

The Congress, NCP and all its allies together have bagged a significant chunk of 117 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly. The BJP-Shiv Sena combined tally stands at 161.

On Thursday evening, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had categorically dismissed such speculative suggestions, affirming that the next government will be formed by the BJP and its allies.

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena has been playing hardball with BJP after its performance in the assembly polls demanding the implementation of 50-50 alliance formula in the state.

The Shiv Sena chief described the mandate as an “eye-opener for many”, and said people of the state kept democracy alive. “We had agreed to contest fewer seats (than the BJP), but I cannot accommodate the BJP every time,” he added. “I should allow my party to grow.”

In a surprise development, the Sena received unexpected support from the opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), whose chief Sharad Pawar wasquoted as saying by NDTV that there was nothing wrong with the Sena’s demands.

Earlier Pawar had ruled out any plan to support the Shiv Sena for keeping the BJP away from power.