New Delhi: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will be the Maharashtra chief minister for the full five-year term, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar informed the media on Friday evening.
As the three parties came together, BJP leaders like Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said that the alliance was unholy and opportunistic. He said that the coalition was an insult to the election mandate. Union minister Nitin Gadkari has also said that the alliance won’t last.
The decision was taken after the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress held a marathon meeting at Mumbai’s Nehru Science Centre.
Pawar said that Thackeray emerged as the consensus candidate for the top post at the meeting. Thackeray’s seniority seems to have tilted the scale in his favour.
The decision puts all speculation to rest that the chief minister’s position would be rotated between Shiv Sena and NCP.
The three parties put aside their ideological differences and came together against the single-largest Bharatiya Janata Party. They are expected to meet the governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari soon and stake claim to form the next state government.
Uddhav Thackeray had earlier said that all of Shiv Sena’s 56 legislators had approved an alliance with Congress-NCP.
One major point of contention – the chief minister’s position – has already been sorted. However, it is unclear at the moment whether the common minimum programme, as announced by the Congress-NCP, will have the term “secular” or not. The Congress reportedly was insisting on including the term while the Shiv Sena was opposed to it.
“You will get all information tomorrow,” Pawar told the media while leaving the Nehru Science Centre.
Thackeray, on the other hand, wasn’t as clear. “The meeting was positive, fruitful,” he said.
Some issues still remain to be sorted and senior leaders of all the three parties are thrashing out those details currently.
Former Congress chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said, “We have reached many conclusions but some talks remain. We will continue tomorrow.”
Congress sources told The Wire that the three parties have yet to agree on some ministerial portfolios and the position of the speaker.
If the government is formed, it would mark a significant shift in Indian politics. Senior journalist Vikas Pathak, writing for Asiaville, had said the alliance would mean that “secularism” may not be the uniting factor for the opposition in the future. “The new mood is one of anti-BJPism, reminiscent of the anti-Congress-ism of the 1960s and 70s, which would bring ideological foes together,” he wrote.
The Congress and NCP finalised their discussions on Thursday and decided to support a Shiv Sena-led government for the sake of “stability”.
The Congress and NCP will likely get plum ministerial portfolios, including the deputy chief minister’s position.
Since Thackeray did not contest the assembly elections, he will have another six months to either contest directly or become a member of the legislative council. But before that, the governor will have to revoke president’s rule in the state and invite the alliance to form the government.
Meanwhile, Governor Koshiyari, who was supposed to be travelling, has cancelled his plans and will stay in the state to respond to the unfolding situation.