The Congress on Wednesday ruled out any possibility of aligning with the Shiv Sena in forming the next government in Maharashtra at a time when the Uddhav Thackeray-led party and the BJP are locked in a bitter tussle over sharing of power.
Interestingly, former chief minister and senior leader Prithviraj Chavan had said that the Congress will "consider" any "concrete" proposal on government formation from the Sena. Talking to reporters, AICC general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday said there was no question of aligning with the Sena in government formation.
"The mandate for the Congress is to function as an opposition party," he said.
The Congress won 44 seats in the 288-member House in the October 21 polls, results for which were announced on October 24.
Mallikarjun Kharge attended a meeting of senior Maharashtra leaders to discuss the results of the assembly elections. The leaders also discussed losses caused to farmers due to unseasonal rains.
Maharashtra unit Congress president Balasaheb Thorat blamed media for speculating on the party supporting the Sena.
"There is no talk about any such possibility at the party level," he said.
Former Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the Congress and Sena are ideologically different parties. Echoing Shinde, former CM Ashok Chavan termed the ongoing tussle between the BJP and the Sena for sharing of power as a "stunt".
The Congress also announced to launch statewide agitations between November 5 to 15 on "rising unemployment and the economic slowdown."
"We will soon meet the governor regarding the assistance to be provided for farmers," said party leader Manikrao Thakre.
The BJP and Sena are locked in a tug-of-war over the latter's demand for rotational chief ministership. Though the BJP emerged as the single largest party by winning 105 seats, it lost 17 seats compared to the 2014 tally.
The Sena emerged victorious on 56 seats compared to the previous 63.
Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has been claiming that arrangement for the rotational post of the CM was agreed upon during a formula discussed by himself, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP chief Amit Shah ahead of the 2019 polls.
However, Fadnavis rejected the claims that Sena was promised the post of the CM for an equal period.