Maharashtra Govt Formation: Shiv Sena ends ties with BJP, Congress-NCP Hold Meetings

NCP chief Sharad Pawar interacts with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai, Nov 11: The Shiv Sena has ended its relationship with the Bharatiya Janta Party entirely and Sena MP Arvind Sawant on Monday announced his resignation as minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, setting up the party’s anticipated severing of ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after a feud over government formation in Maharashtra.

Sawant on Monday morning announced his decision to resign from the Union Cabinet. “I am resigning from my ministerial post,” tweeted Sawant.

Meet at Sonia Gandhi’s residence

Senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal, Ahmed Patel, and Mallikarjun Kharge arrive for Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting at party interim president Sonia Gandhi’s residence in Delhi.

The Sena’s decision to pull out its only minister in the central government meets a key condition of Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to discuss any alliance to form a government in Maharashtra.

“Shiv Sena’s side is the truth. Why stay in the government in Delhi in such a false environment? That is why I am resigning as Union Minister,” tweeted Arvind Sawant, who was Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

The Shiv Sena was on Sunday invited by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to indicate “willingness and ability” to form government in the state after the BJP said it would not stake claim to power. It needs the support of the NCP and the Congress to do so.

Thackeray to meet Sharad Pawar

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is expected to reach out to Sharad Pawar today. Uddhav Thackeray is tipped to be Chief Minister, with an NCP deputy, in a formula that has been in circulation over the weekend.

Indicating that the saffron party was nearing an understanding with the Congress-NCP, Sena leader Sanjay Raut urged that this was the “critical moment” for the two Opposition parties.

“We have taken the first step… It is upto them now to take a suitable measures to form the government based on a common minimum programme acceptable to all sides,” Raut said in the clearest pointer so far to the unfolding developments.

However, the opposition NCP appeared to play coy and refrained from categorically endorsing the Sena stand.

“We have no mandate. Those who have the mandate should do it. Our stand is made clear many times. Government formation is not an easy task, and many issues come into the picture. We still have no alliance or understanding with anybody,” senior NCP leader Praful Patel said.

Expressing the Sena’s sincerity of purpose, Raut pointed out that the party President Uddhav Thackeray has already directed the Sena’s sole nominee in the Union Cabinet, Heavy Industries Minister Arvind Sawant to quit his post.

“In view of the recent developments and the objectionable statements made by the Bharatiya Janata Party, its clear they want to keep us away from power. So what’s the point in continuing with the NDA?” Raut asked, without categorically saying that the Sena-BJP alliance has snapped – as demanded by the Congress-NCP for its backing.

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