Our allies favour formation of govt with Sena, say Cong-NCP

(Eds: Adding details) Mumbai, Nov 22 (PTI) The NCP and the Congress said onFriday their smaller allies have backed the idea of forming agovernment in Maharashtra with the Shiv Sena to keep itsestranged ally BJP out of power in the state.

Congress and NCP representatives on Friday held ameeting with their pre-poll allies here, which was attended byleaders of the Samajwadi Party, the RPI (Kawade faction), theRPI (Kharat faction), Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Paksha, thePeasants and Workers' Party (PWP), the CPI(M), the Janata Daland others.

'Our pre-poll allies have supported the idea offorming a government with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra to keepthe BJP away from power,' Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patiltold reporters after the meeting here.

He was accompanied by senior Congress leaderPrithviraj Chavan.

Patil said that during the meeting, leaders of thesmaller allies were apprised of the progress the Congress-NCPhave made so far towards the formation of government in thestate, where poll results were announced nearly a month ago.

'These parties, including the CPI(M), want agovernment minus the BJP for the development of the state andfor addressing agrarian issues,' he said.

Patil, a former Maharashtra minister, said theCongress and the NCP will hold discussions with the Shiv Sena,following which the parties will stake claim to form thegovernment.

However, he did not specify exactly when the partieswill stake claim to form the government.

'We will speak to the Shiv Sena in a day or two,' headded.

Chavan said the alliance partners have prepared adraft Common Minimum Programme (CMP), which is to be clearedby top leaders of the three parties.

'The final CMP will guide the actions of the proposedgovernment,' the former chief minister said.

Talking to reporters, Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmimade a pitch for ending communalism in the country.

'The Shiv Sena will have to tweak some of its policiesif it wants our support...we will have to form the governmentto obliterate communalism,' he said.

Azmi said the prospective government should be fair toDalits, minorities, farmers and the weak.

The MLA-elect said his party was not opposed to ShivSena president Uddhav Thackeray becoming the chief ministerand added he was not vying for a ministerial berth.

The state has been facing a political crisis after theSena broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after thelatter declined to share the chief minister's post.

The BJP and the Sena, which fought the Assembly pollsin alliance, had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member Assembly.

The NCP and the Congress, pre-poll allies, won 54 and44 seats, respectively.

The state is currently under President's rule. PTI ENMVT NPRSY RSY