New Delhi: NCP chief Sharad Pawar addresses a press conference after meeting Congress President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Nov 18, 2019. . Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Nov 19 : The Nationalist Congress Party, engaged in talks with the Congress to forge an alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra to form government, is working on a formula of rotational chief minister, party sources said on Tuesday.

This comes a day before the scheduled meeting of senior NCP and Congress leaders in the national capital to decide on the common minimum programme (CMP) in the state before forging an alliance with the former National Democratic Alliance partner.

An NCP source said the Shiv Sena had demanded rotational chief ministership with the BJP, and when it was not met, it moved out of the alliance, adding the NCP, which got only two seats less than Shiv Sena in the state, will also work on the rotational chief minister formula.

The Shiv Sena bagged 56 out of 288 seats in the state while the NCP won 54 seats. The BJP emerged as the single largest party by winning 105 seats. The Congress won 44 seats.

Asked about the delay in government formation, when the formula of rotational chief minister has been worked out, he said, "We want to speak to all our alliance partner and take leaders of our parties in confidence before making any commitment with the Shiv Sena".

"We don't want to be viewed as opportunist while forging an alliance. We are discussing the alliance with the Shiv Sena in much broader aspect." The party source said the NCP wants an alliance with Shiv Sena even in local elections. When pressed further over the ideological differences with the Sena, he said, "The Shiv Sena has never been a strong supporter of Hindutva ideology. In fact it is one of the most liberal and progressive parties." Citing an example, he said, father of Balasaheb Thackeray Prabodhankar Thackeray, who was against superstitions and social evils in India such as untouchability, child marriage and dowry.

The party source said it was Prabodhankar Thackeray who first campaigned for the linguistic state of Maharashtra, which was followed by Balasaheb Thackeray.

Meanwhile, the Congress and the NCP leaders are set to meet in the national capital on Wednesday to discuss the Common Minimum Programme for Maharashtra.

Senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge, K.C. Venugopal and A.K. Antony met party's interim Chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence earlier in the day. A Congress source said when Pawar would meet Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, Kharge will lead the talks along with Rahul Gandhi's close aide Venugopal along with other Maharashtra leaders.

The party source also indicated that NCP was pushing for the rotational arrangement for the top post, but the first term of Chief Ministership is likely to go to the Shiv Sena.

"The deliberations on power sharing will be finalised by the high-powered committee for the three parties in this week and the final stamp will be put by the leaders of all the three parties," the Congress source added.

The results for the October 21 Assembly polls were annoucned on October 24. The President's rule was imposed last Tuesday in the state after the BJP, Shiv Sena and the NCP failed to form the government.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at anand.s@ians.in)

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