- Sena, Congress and NCP have come to a basic agreement in Maharashtra
- Sources said the Sena and the NCP will share the Chief Ministers' post
- Sharad Pawar's party is just two seats behind the Sena
A 50:50 power sharing formula that ended the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance could form the blueprint for the fresh political alignment that's under discussion in Maharashtra. A day after President's Rule was declared in the state, sources told NDTV that the Shiv Sena, Congress and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party have come to a basic agreement, in which the surprise element could be the Congress.
The party's central leadership, which was initially reluctant to do business with the Sena, and was later expected to lend outside support to keep the BJP out of power, might join the government, sources in the Sena and the NCP indicated.
The idea of a rotational Chief Ministership - which drove a wedge between the Sena and the BJP - has found favour in Sharad Pawar's party, which is just two seats behind the Sena. Sources said the Sena and the NCP will share the Chief Ministers' post -- the first half of the government's five-year tenure will go to Uddhav Thackeray, the NCP's turn will come in the second half.
The Congress -- the juniormost member of the alliance in terms of seats -- has demanded the Deputy Chief Minister's post for all five years. The post of the Assembly Speaker may also go to the party.
When it comes to ministerial berths, there will be an equal division between the three parties. There is no word though, on who is likely to get the plus portfolios like home and finance.
There is also a condition from the Congress and the NCP that the Sena has to meet -- crucial for the two ideologically disparate blocs to get along. If Uddhav Thackeray becomes the Sena's Chief Minister, he will not speak of the Ayodhya issue.
Mr Thackeray, one of the vocal supporters of the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya, indicated yesterday that he is ready to move on. Speaking to reporters, he said the Lord Ram has "kept his promises", indicating the favourable judgment from the Supreme Court earlier this week.
"Now politics is headed in another direction. Give this process the time that is required," he had said, adding, "We will find a way to work together despite our differing ideologies".
Mr Thackeray, who had a meeting with senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel Tuesday night, on Wednesday said, "Everything is going fine. Talks are on in the right direction and a decision will be announced at an appropriate time".
Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut denied that the parties have come to a settlement.
"Rumours being floated that shivsena president uddhav Thackeray had meeting with Ahmed Patel and we have come to some sort of settlement, on behalf of uddhav thackeray let me clarify that this is untrue & being deliberately spread , our talks with congress and ncp are in process," his tweet read.
On record, all three parties are insisting on hammering down a Common Minimum Programme before the nitty gritty of power sharing can be decided.
Senior NCP leader Jayant Patil said, ""Primarily we should first decide on a Common Minimum Programme. Once that is decided, we can go ahead with who gets which ministry. Then we can decide who should be CM and other Minsters. That is not discussed so far".