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Congress playing hardball with Shiv Sena?

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Nov 12, 2019, 3:52 am IST
Updated : Nov 12, 2019, 3:52 am IST

The Congress is vertically split within the top in lending support to the Shiv Sena.

In an internal power tussle between prospective allies, the Congress on Monday withheld the letter of support of its MLAs in the Maharashtra assembly to the Shiv Sena. (Representational Image | PTI)
 In an internal power tussle between prospective allies, the Congress on Monday withheld the letter of support of its MLAs in the Maharashtra assembly to the Shiv Sena. (Representational Image | PTI)

New Delhi: In an internal power tussle between prospective allies, the Congress on Monday withheld the letter of support of its MLAs in the Maharashtra assembly to the Shiv Sena.

After the election results in Maharashtra, the fissures between the pre-poll allies BJP and Shiv Sena allowed the NCP-Congress combine to explore options in government formation.

Though at present, the Congress is dealing with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, who in turn is in talks with the Shiv Sena for the outcome. If any government without the BJP has to be formed in the state, all the three parties have to be in alliance.

The Congress is vertically split within the top in lending support to the Shiv Sena. Their main reason of the split is that the Shiv Sena has stood for everything that the Congress has opposed and at present, it aligning with Shiv Sena will be a betrayal of the mandate given to the Congress by its voters.

The ideological divide weighing in heavily in the Congress mind. But the party also does not want to give away the state to the BJP.

Interestingly, the majority of the leaders of Congress from Maharashtra, including two former chief ministers of the party have suggested going into an alliance with the Shiv Sena and the NCP.

Several leaders have also suggested that not only should there be an alliance but the Congress should also be part of the government even if it is being led by the Shiv Sena. After a day of meetings, the Congress high command sided with the conservatives within the party till the time all other options are not exhausted. The Governor after exhausting his options with the BJP and the Shiv Sena has now given 24 hours to the NCP to conjure up the numbers

Insiders also claim that Congress does not want to give an impression to its prospective allies that it is a junior partner and can be taken for granted. Also, to bridge the ideological gap between itself and the Shiv Sena it needs to have a fig leaf of a face-saver. That is why it is treading with caution and has put the NCP in front firming up modalities with the Shiv Sena. Several options have been put on the table regarding the prospective alliance but the party wants to take a final call after the NCP has had rounds of parleys with the Sena. The only hitch in the plan is that the time is running out fast as it has already been fifteen days since the results of the election came out.

If the three parties cannot satisfy the state governor with the required numbers, the state will be heading towards President’s rule.

Tags: sharad pawar, president’s rule