'Talks for govt formation at preliminary stage,' says Congress' Prithviraj Chavan

Mumbai: Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said talks for government formation in Maharashtra were at a "preliminary" stage and no decision was taken so far.

The Congress and NCP on Wednesday deliberated at their respective party levels and later jointly to work out a 'common minimum programme' (CMP) and power-sharing formula, the former state chief minister said.

Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavan and ManikraoThakare also met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray at a suburban hotel on Wednesday.

"The Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena have so far held preliminary talks. A meeting will again be held today between the Congress and NCP, and later both the parties are expected to hold talks with the Shiv Sena. There is no decision as yet," Prithviraj Chavan told PTI.

He said the details worked out will have to be approved by the Congress high command.

Manikrao Thakare on Wednesday described their meeting with the Sena president as an effort to create an "amicable atmosphere" for further talks.

Thackeray, on his part, said talks were going on in the right direction.

The Sharad Pawar-led NCP has also named five of its members who will be part of a joint committee to be formed with the Congress for deciding the CMP before a possible alliance with the Shiv Sena.

The NCP's panel comprises Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal, Nawab Malik and Dhananjay Munde.

Patil, who is the state NCP chief, said power-sharing formula was not being discussed as yet.

The Shiv Sena formally sought support of the Congress and NCP on Monday to form government in the state.

Senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and K C Venugopal were subsequently deputed by party president Sonia Gandhi to hold talks with the NCP and evolve a consensus on what should be the policies and programmes if the Shiv Sena was to be supported.

President's rule was imposed in the state on Tuesday after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari sent a report to the Centre, stating that formation of a stable government was impossible in the current situation despite all his efforts.

The BJP and Shiv Sena, which fought the October 21 state elections in alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member Assembly.

But the BJP did not cede Sena's demand of sharing the chief minister's post, leading to falling apart of the nearly three-decade-old alliance.

Congress and NCP won 44 and 54 seats, respectively, in the last month's polls.

 

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