Congress sets terms for support to Shiv Sena

Mumbai: While state Congress leaders are in favour of supporting Shiv Sena to form the government, Congress leadership has set two conditions for support.

Congress wants Sena to first come out of NDA and Union government and finalise a common minimum programme. Congress want Sena to also shed its hardcore Hindutva stand on key issues.

Though the state Congress leadership is pursuing its demand of supporting Sena to form the government, the party high command has chosen a wait and watch policy.

Congress feels that if BJP and Sena fail to form government, then Congress should support Sena. “If we support Sena in the current political situation, our core secular voters may be disappointed.

We cannot compromise with our ideology. Sena cannot seek our support by continuing in NDA and central government led by BJP. So they will first have to leave NDA and the union government,” a senior Congress leader of Congress at New Delhi told.

“There are many contentious issues, which may split our alliance, especially Ram Mandir. We want Sena to keep aside their hardcore Hindutva stand on various issues and we will formulate a common minimum programme of governance based on our manifestos,” the leader said.

It is to be noted that Congress and NCP released their joint-manifesto while Shiv Sena and BJP had released their manifestos separately. The common minimum programme may have all key promises including Rs 10 Thali. In the past too, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by Congress had devised such a common minimum programme in 2004 at centre.

Keep BJP at bay, demand legislators

Congress party on Wednesday had an informal meeting with young legislators like Vishwajeet Kadam, Amit Deshmukh, Sartej Patil along with former CM Ashok Chavan, state President Balasaheb Thorat and leader of opposition in Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar.

All legislators demanded to keep BJP at bay in the state. “All legislators present in the meeting were of the opinion that Congress should take the initiative to keep BJP out of power,” Ashok Chavan told media.

Asked about the possibility of his party supporting a Shiv Sena-led government, Chavan said Congress and NCP will jointly decide their future course of action if a BJP-Shiv Sena government is not formed in Maharashtra.

Talking to reporters, the former Maharashtra Chief Minister said mandate in the October 21 election was for the Congress-NCP combine to sit in the opposition.

No party has got a majority in the assembly polls and that is why Congress feels BJP shouldn’t be in power, Chavan said. “The state has suffered a lot in the last five years. Farmers are in crisis... the economic situation is not good,” added the newly-elected MLA from Bhokar in Nanded district.

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