Congress gets into huddle over Maha govt formation

Abhishek Kumar

New Delhi, Nov 10 (PTI) The Congress party got into a huddle on Sunday night after the BJP declined to form a government in Maharashtra and the Shiv Sena claimed it will have its chief minister in the state.

All Congress legislators from Maharashtra reached Jaipur on Sunday and were holding a discussion on the possibility of a Sena-led government. Senior party leaders were also attending the meeting, Congress sources said.

Senior party leader Ahmed Patel is also likely to reach Jaipur. After the meeting, Congress leaders are likely to discuss the issue with the top party leadership in Delhi.

The sources said NCP chief Sharad Pawar may also meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday, to discuss the possibility of the two parties supporting a Sena-led government.

However in Maharashtra, the Pawar-led party said the Sena will have to walk out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance first to discuss having its support.

Hours earlier, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari asked the Shiv Sena to'indicate the willingness and ability' of the party to stake claim to form government in the state. The BJP had declined to form a government in the state.

The Sena, the second-largest party in the 288-member House with 56 MLAs after the BJP (105), has time till 7:30 PM on November 11, to stake the claim.

The role of the Congress (44 MLAS) and the NCP (54 MLAs) is crucial now.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who is camping in Jaipur along with the party legislators from Maharashtra, said earlier Sunday his party has 'accepted' the public mandate to it to sit in the opposition in the state.

'Now it is for the party high command to take a decision, we have left it on the party's high command,” he asserted.

“There are some statements, some talking about support to Shiv Sena and some are denying but there is no fact in such statements. The Congress party's stand is that we have to go with the public mandate and the Congress and NCP have to sit in the opposition,” he told reporters in Jaipur.

The newly elected MLAs of Maharashtra Congress are staying at a resort in Jaipur. PTI SKC CK ABHABHABH