Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray held out hope for a stable government through a new political configuration on Tuesday, hours after President's Rule was declared in Maharashtra. Brushing off ideological differences with long-time rival Congress, he said if the BJP and Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party could find a way to work together, it is possible in the current situation as well.
"We are from different ideologies but we can come together just like the BJP has done," he told reporters this evening. "The BJP and Shiv Sena were together for many years but now Shiv Sena has to go with the Congress-NCP. We'll hold further talks with both of them," he added.
Several rounds of talks between the Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress reached a dead end yesterday.
Faced a tough call, Sonia Gandhi had insisted on taking things slow - leading to the Governor inviting Sharad Pawar's Party to form the government. That option was exhausted too as the NCP asked for more time and President's Rule was declared in the state.
Mr Thackeray, who called Sonia Gandhi multiple times on Monday and received what the Congress said was a "courtesy call" from the Congress chief, expressed confidence that they would be able to work out their differences.
"I am finding out how parties with different ideologies forged alliances with the BJP. I want to question BJP on ideology -- how they came together with Nitish Kumar, Paswan, PDP and Naidu," Uddhav Thackeray said. "We will hold discussion and because we are from different ideologies, these discussions may take some time to come to a consensus".
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel told the media today that the Congress and the NCP have not committed to Shiv Sena yet. "The Congress-NCP are yet to discuss few issues only after its sorted out, discussions with Sena will take place," Mr Patel said.
Mr Thackeray indicated that the way ahead would be a Common Minimum Programme. "Just like the Congress and NCP, the Sena also needs clarity on the Common Minimum Programme (CMP)," he said.
Talking about the Sena's 35-year association with the BJP, he said, "Yes, Ram mandir brought us together. But lord Ram kept his promises. Now politics is headed in another direction. Give this process the time that is required".
The Sena ended ties with the BJP for a second time over a 50:50 power share that would also include the Chief Minister's post, pulling its lone minister out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government yesterday.