Amid the political drama that has been delaying government formation in Maharashtra, Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday spoke with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on phone regarding the situation in the state.
Sonia also deputed three senior leaders, KC Venugopal, Ahmed Patel and Maharashtra Congress in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge, to Mumbai to speak to NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his party workers and discuss on the formation of a Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra.
Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chauhan are among the leaders to meet the NCP chief.
The Congress leaders are meeting Pawar with an attempt to finalise the alliance deal.
Earlier, there were reports that the Mumbai plan has been postponed following apprehensions from the “Kerala lobby” that a tie-up with such an ideologically different party will hurt the Congress in the southern state.
As the impasse in government formation entered the 18th day and the prospect of President’s Rule looming large in Maharashtra, the Congress and NCP are cautious of extending their support to the Shiv Sena, while the BJP ally is awaiting a favourable outcome.
On Monday evening, Sonia Gandhi even after holding two crucial meetings with senior party leaders kept the Shiv Sena guessing over the Congress supporting it in Maharashtra to form the government.
The Congress issued a statement in the evening saying it will hold “further discussion” with its alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which was all inclined to support the Shiv Sena in the state.
In the statement issued after the meeting chaired by Sonia, the party said: “The Congress Working Committee met on Monday and had a detailed discussion on the situation in Maharashtra after which a consultation was held with Maharashtra Congress leaders. The Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) has spoken to Sharad Pawar. The party will have further discussion with the NCP.”
On Monday, Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray also spoke to Sonia seeking her support to form the government. On Sunday, the Governor invited Shiv Sena to form government in the state after the BJP said that it was unable to form the government. The Governor then on Monday evening called on the NCP as the third largest party in the state to attempt government formation.