Maharashtra may see NCP rebel group, BJP-Sena tie-up

Its a la Karnataka, where H D Kumaraswamy staged a coup against JD (S) supremo Deve Gowda three years ago to ally with BJP

It is a la Karnataka, where three years ago JD(S)’ H D Kumaraswamy had engineered a coup behind the back of his father H D Deve Gowda to tie up with the BJP and grab power, dislodging the Congress.

Although it is not clear whether the twists and moves are being made as a part of bargaining or there is some real intent, Ajit Pawar, nephew of the Nationalist Congress Party supremo and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, has reportedly got in touch with two Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party leaders to explore the possibilities.

Pawar himself had a meeting of over 45 minutes with Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut in Delhi on Tuesday, sending ripples in political circles.

It is almost one week now since the results of the assembly elections have been out, but the Congress is yet to stake claim to form the next government.

The NCP has demanded continuation of the 1999 formula of sharing of cabinet posts to its advantage, and has not given its letter of support to the Congress so far.

Pune pattern

On Monday, when the NCP legislature party elected Chhagan Bhujbal as its leader in the assembly, a disgruntled Ajit Pawar was inaccessible for the whole day, and came before media the next day.  However, it is believed that during those fateful hours, he had contacted the Sena-BJP to repeat what is called the Pune Pattern to keep the Congress out of power and have an alternative set up.

In Pune, from where the Pawars hail, Ajit Pawar had successfully managed to combine the NCP, the BJP and the Sena to dislodge the Congress and its city boss Suresh Kalmadi from the municipal corporation.

Till that time, Kalmadi was ruling the corporation through remote control.
If Ajit Pawar really manages what appears at the moment an impossible t ask, then he will have 46 members of the BJP and 44 me mbers of the Sena with him, plus his own group of 38 MLAs with the NCP block of 62 legislators.

He is also believed to have backing of 16 Independents. Together, they can achieve simple majority to form the government, in which small parties like PWP can also be roped in to bring stability.

While the BJP has denied these moves, the Congress circles here dismiss the whole game as nothing but posturing by Sharad Pawar to put pressure on the big brother and force it to concede all its demands.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, however, has discounted all these possibilities and said talks between the Congress and the NCP would be concluded within a day or two and a new Congress-NCP government will assume power in Maharashtra  soon.

In 1977, Sharad Pawar himself had rebelled against the the Congress and aligned with the then Janata Party (which included the BJP’s earlier avatar Jan Sangh) to form a Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) government.

Sena offers CM’s post to Ajit Pawar

Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi on Thursday said his party would extend support to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in forming the next government in Maharashtra if it severed ties with the Congress, reports DHNS from Mumbai.

Reacting to the unfolding political drama in the state, Joshi, who was the chief minister between 1995 and 1999 and later the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, said if Ajit Pawar breaks away from the Nationalist Congress Party with adequate number of supporters, then the Sena was not averse to repeating the ‘Pune Pattern’.

Ajit Pawar has created a flutter in political circles by claiming that he had an open offer from the Sena-BJP for the chief ministership if he rebelled against the Nationalist Congress Party-Congress tie up and aligned with the saffron combine. However, he said he rejected that offer out of hand and there was no question of his going against his uncle Sharad Pawar.

The NCP supremo has already stated that the Nationalist Congress Party will remain in the United Progressive Alliance and with the Congress and there is no question of the party breaking its ties with it and joining hands with the Sena-BJP in Maharashtra.
Curiously, when contacted by reporters, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Nitin Gadkari denied his party having offered the chief minister’s post to Pawar.

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