Millennium Post

Pawar, Sonia Gandhi to meet & discuss 'next course of action'

Pawar, Sonia Gandhi to meet & discuss next course of action

New Delhi/Nagpur: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar will meet on November 17 to discuss the "next course of action" regarding forming a coalition government with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said on Friday, hours after it was announced the three parties have agreed on a common ground and will meet with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday.

"Congress alone can't decide things. NCP chief Sharad Pawar and AICC president Sonia Gandhi will sit together on 17 November and discuss the next course of action. They will decide how to solve this problem. After that, other actions will follow," Kharge was quoted by a news agency.

Earlier in the day, the NCP chief hinted: "We will form a government in Maharashtra and will remain in power for the next five years and there is no possibility of mid-term polls."

Pawar was in Nagpur on a two-day tour to meet farmers and review the agricultural loss due to untimely rains in the region.

"Despite being under President's rule, the Central government will have to help the farmers as the rains were a disaster on a national scale. The farmers should get compensation per hectare and loan waivers," he said, adding that he would continue to pursue the Centre for the cause of farmers.

Referring to the formation of government in Maharashtra, the veteran politician said that presently they are working out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) that would guide the actions of the government.

Taking a dig at Devendra Fadnavis' remark that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government will not last for more than six months, the former Union Agriculture minister quipped: "I know Fadnavis but I did not know he is a student of astrology too." Speaking in Mumbai, Pawar's colleague and NCP chief spokesman Nawab Malik said the Chief Minister's post will go to the Shiv Sena.

"The Chief Minister will be from the Shiv Sena. It walked away from the 'Mahayuti' (grand alliance) on the issue of the Chief Minister's post. "It is our responsibility to respect its sentiment," Malik said.

At a meeting in Mumbai on Thursday, leaders of the Congress, the NCP and the Sena prepared the draft CMP, which will be forwarded for approval to top leaders of the three parties. Talking to reporters in Mumbai, Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut said Maharashtra's next government will be led by his party and the CMP will in the "state's interest".

The Uddhav Thackeray-headed saffron party will lead the government in Maharashtra for the next "25 years" and not just five years, claimed Raut. The Rajya Sabha MP was responding to questions on whether his party will share the Chief Minister's post with the NCP and the Congress.

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