Govt formation talks inconclusive, to continue on Sat: Patel

(Eds: Repeating after correcting designation in intro) Mumbai, Nov 22 (PTI) Talks on government formation in Maharashtra between the Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena are inconclusive and will continue on Saturday as well, AICC treasurer (rpt treasurer) Ahmed Patel said on Friday.

Talking to reporters after marathon deliberations between top leaders of the three parties which are inching closer to formation of the new government, Patel said discussions will continue on Saturday.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, who attended the meeting at Nehru Centre, said the discussion between the three partners was conducted in a positive manner and they have reached many conclusions.

'The talks will continue tomorrow. The discussion between the Congress and the NCP concluded in New Delhi yesterday and reached an agreement on common position.

'The discussion with the Shiv Sena was held today and will continue tomorrow as well,' Chavan said.

Asked about NCP president Sharad Pawar's statement that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will lead the three-party government, Chavan evaded a direct reply and said, 'Whatever he has said is on record.' Pawar and Thackeray were also part of the three-party deliberations at Nehru Centre.

Speaking separately, NCP leader Praful Patel also said the talks on government formation will continue on Saturday.

Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai, Sanjay Raut (all Shiv Sena), Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge, K C Venugopal, Avinash Pande, Balasaheb Thorat, Chavan (Congress), Praful Patel, Jayant Patil and Ajit Pawar (NCP) took part in the meeting.

Meanwhile, shortly after the meeting at Nehru Centre, Thackeray met party colleagues Sanjay Raut and Subhash Desai at the Mayor's bungalow in Shivaji Park. Thackeray's MLA-son Aaditya was also present.

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

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

The NCP and the Congress, pre-poll allies, won 54 and 44 seats, respectively.

The combined tally of the Sena, the NCP and the Congress is way beyond the majority mark of 145.

The state is currently under President's rule. PTI MR VT RSY RSY