Top Sena, Cong, NCP leaders meet in push for govt formation

Mumbai, Nov 22 (PTI) Top leaders of the Shiv Sena, theCongress and the NCP began a meeting here on Friday to giveshape to new government to be led by the Uddhav Thackeray-headed party in Maharashtra, nearly a month after assemblypoll results were announced.

Eknath Shinde, Subhash Desai, Sanjay Raut (all ShivSena), Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge, K C Venugopal, AvinashPande, Balasaheb Thorat, Prithviraj Chavan (Congress), PrafulPatel, Jayant Patil and Ajit Pawar (NCP) are taking part inthe meeting.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena president UddhavThackeray are also attending the deliberations at Nehru Centrein South Mumbai aimed at giving momentum to install a non-BJPgovernment in the country's richest state, which is underPresident's rule.

Kharge, while leaving for the meeting from suburbanBandra, told reporters that a decision on when to stake claimto form government will be decided after the meeting.

Sources said deliberations will focus on finalising acommon minimum programme (CMP) and power-sharing between thethree parties in the new government.

Inching closer to form government along with the Sena,the Congress and the NCP held talks with their pre-poll allies - the Peasants Workers Party, the Samajwadi Party, theSwabhimani Paksha and the CPI(M) - earlier in the day beforeparleys with the Uddhav Thackeray-headed party.

NCP leader Jayant Patil said smaller pre-poll alliesof his party and the Congress have backed the idea of forminga government with the Shiv Sena to keep the BJP away frompower in the state.

'Our pre-poll allies have supported the idea offorming a government in Maharashtra to keep the BJP away frompower,' Patil, who was accompanied by senior Congress leaderPrithviraj Chavan, told reporters after the meeting here. PTIMRRSY RSY