Cong, NCP keep watch on Shiv Sena Sena's move

Pawar held a series of meetings including a one-on-one with NCP general secretary and former civil aviation minister Praful Patel. 

Reiterating that the mandate was to sit in Opposition, the Congress and Sharad Pawar-led NCP are watching the next move of the Shiv Sena after BJP decided not to stake a claim for government formation.

Both NCP and Congress, the MahaAghadi partners, are of the opinion that any form of support or deal is possible if Shiv Sena pulls out of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre.

In Jaipur, AICC general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge met the Maharashtra legislators informally.

Two Central observers will be meeting the Congress legislators and leaders.

"We have the public mandate to sit in Opposition and we have accepted it," Kharge said, adding that the Maharashtra unit has left it to the Congress high-command to take a final call.

Congress MLAs including senior leaders like former CMs Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan, state Congress president Babasaheb Thorat are currently in Jaipur.

Congress leaders have alleged that some legislators were contacted and offered sums between Rs 25 and Rs 50 crore.

In Mumbai, Pawar held a series of meetings including a one-on-one with NCP general secretary and former civil aviation minister Praful Patel.

About reports that the Congress may support Shiv Sena, Pawar said that the Congress has not communicated any such decision. Besides, Shiv Sena, too, has not contacted NCP.

Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray's aide Sanjay Raut said that Congress was not an enemy of the state.

"If BJP and Shiv Sena could not form the government, the Congress and NCP will try and form an alternative government," NCP Mumbai president and spokesperson Nawab Malik said. 

Meanwhile, a senior leader brushed aside suggestions that the Governor could invite 'second-largest alliance" saying that no such provision existed in the Sarkaria Commission.

Meanwhile, veteran Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said in the current political arithmetic in Maharashtra, it's just impossible for Congress-NCP to form any government. "For that, we need Shiv Sena. And we must not think of sharing power with Shiv Sena under any circumstances. That will be a disastrous move for the Congress," he said.

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