Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar will meet on November 17 to discuss the "next course of action" on forming a coalition government with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said on Friday. His comment came hours after it was announced the three parties have agreed on a minimum agenda and will meet with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Saturday.
"Congress alone can't decide things. NCP chief Sharad Pawar and AICC president Sonia Gandhi will sit together on 17 November and discuss the next course of action. They will decide how to solve this problem. After that, other actions will follow," Mr Kharge was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
"Once they both sit and discuss, only then will the political strategy be prepared," he added.
The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress will form government in Maharashtra, which will complete a full term, Mr Pawar said on Friday, ruling out mid-term elections in the state that is under President's Rule after no party won a majority in polls last month.
"This government will be formed and it will complete five years. We all will ensure this government runs for five years," Mr Pawar said on Friday.
The Shiv Sena and BJP had contested the Maharashtra assembly election as allies and together got a majority in the 288-strong assembly. After the polls, however, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party's claim that BJP chief Amit Shah had promised rotational chief ministership, caused friction between the two partners.
Amid Sena's insistence that it had enough numbers to form government without the BJP, caretaker Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis resigned last week. The next day, as the term of the Maharashtra legislative assembly ended without any resolution, Governor Koshyari invited the BJP to form government. But the party opted out of the race, accusing the Sena of "betraying the people's mandate".
President's Rule was imposed earlier this week after the other parties couldn't stake claim to form government. Since then, the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress had held several rounds of meetings to build consensus on a common minimum agenda and power sharing.
The three parties will meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at 3 pm on Saturday on what they call "governance failure" in issues related to farmers and job losses.