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Congress-NCP, Shiv Sena finalise draft CMP, final call early next week | India News


MUMBAI: A 40-point common minimum programme (CMP) was finalised by Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress on Thursday in the first concrete step towards government formation. It will now be shared with the chiefs of the three parties, who will confer over the weekend and the final blueprint is expected by November 19.
With the draft CMP wrapped up, attention has turned to power sharing, and a broad consensus seems to be emerging on Sena getting 16 cabinet members, NCP 14 and Congress 12. The Speaker is likely to be from Congress, and will get a deputy from Sena, while the legislative council chairman’s post will go to NCP, with the deputy’s chair, again, for Sena.
The top posts seem to be far from decided. A senior Congress leader said: “Shiv Sena has staked claim for the CM’s post. It is not yet clear if it will be for five years or it will be by rotation for two and half years, or it should be for an equal period among Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP.” Stressing that all posts and cabinet berths will be decided by consensus, the leader added that a decision on deputy CM will be taken after deliberations among senior leaders of all three parties.
As efforts for government formation seemed to pick up momentum in Mumbai, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court, alleging that the change in Sena’s stand, which had fought the polls with BJP, was “nothing but betrayal of people’s trust reposed in the NDA”. It may be listed for hearing in the next few days. In the tri-party camp, the mood was upbeat. “We are determined to provide a stable, non-BJP government as people of Maharashtra do not want a mid-term poll,’’ said Congress’ Vijay Wadettiwar.
Talking about the draft CMP, former Congress CM Prithviraj Chavan told TOI: “We took note of Shiv Sena’s manifesto as well as our own manifesto and drafted the CMP. It is not an election manifesto, but an action plan for providing clean and transparent administration. Contentious issues have been dropped.”
On Thursday, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray first held a meeting with Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat and NCP’s Jayant Patil on the CMP. It was followed by a joint meeting of senior Congress and NCP leaders, and later in the evening, Congress, NCP and Sena leaders met to finalise the draft CMP at the office of Chhagan Bhujbal’s MET education trust. Congress leaders Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde, Manikrao Thakre and Wadettiwar, NCP’s Jayant Patil, Nawab Malik and Bhujbal, and Sena’s Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai were present.
Chavan, Malik and Shinde said the draft will be submitted to Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray in a day or two. The three are expected to jointly deliberate on the contents and finalise the document by Sunday. Once approved, Uddhav may meet Pawar on Sunday itself, and subsequently, they are likely to meet Sonia in New Delhi on November 19. “We feel that once the final document is ready, Pawar, Thackeray and Gandhi will meet in New Delhi to finalise the future course of action, particularly formation of government and power sharing,” said a senior Congress leader.
Though Maharashtra is under President’s rule, the situation is quite different from the time election results were announced three weeks ago when Sena snubbed BJP. Following the intervention of Sena MP Sanjay Raut, Uddhav had knocked on Pawar’s doors. After several rounds of discussion, Pawar took the lead on government formation with a brand new political construct by speaking to Sonia. Her trusted aide Ahmed Patel was deputed for negotiations, and it led to the draft.

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