Ahead of NCP-Congress Talks on Maharashtra Govt Formation, Sharad Pawar to Meet PM Modi Today

The two parties would also discuss whether they would contest the civic body polls with the Shiv Sena if the three parties join hands to form the government in the state.

New Delhi: Ahead of a key meeting between the Congress and NCP on finalising the contours of a proposed alliance with the Shiv Sena for government formation in Maharashtra, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to discuss farmers’ issues. Pawar and Modi will meet at 12.30pm and later in the day, the NCP leader will lead a Maharashtra all-party delegation to meet the prime minister.

The move assumes significance in the backdrop of the power tussle in Maharashtra, which saw the BJP break up with the Shiv Sena, its ally of 30 years. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party is at present working towards an understanding with the ideologically opposed Congress and NCP to form the government in the state. The parties are trying to cobble together an alliance on the basis of a common minimum programme, which has farmers’ interest at its core.

Interestingly, the meeting also comes days after PM Modi praised the NCP in the Rajya Sabha at the beginning of the Winter Session for strictly “adhering to parliamentary norms”. “Today I want to appreciate two parties, NCP and BJD. These parties have strictly adhered to parliamentary norms." He said the other parties, including his own, should learn from them.

He also lauded the two parties for never entering Well of House to protest, saying that it has not affected their politics. "They have never gone into the well. Yet, they have raised their points very effectively. Other parties, including mine, can learn from them,” Modi said while underlining that the fortunes of either party have not been affected due to their self-imposed discipline.

Modi's praise for the NCP is also interesting given the bitter and personal exchange of words between Modi and Pawar in the campaigns of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

Meanwhile, NCP and Congress leaders are expected to discuss a myriad of issues — from the name of their likely alliance if they join hands with the ideologically opposite Shiv Sena to the contours of their tie-up in the coming polls in their meeting scheduled for Wednesday, an NCP leader said on Tuesday.

The Congress and the NCP are not comfortable with the name 'Maha Shiv Aghadi' (a grand alliance comprising the Sena), the leader said. "We don't want name of any party in the alliance. Even in the NDA and the UPA, alliances don't have names of parties," the leader added.

The Congress-NCP alliance is known as 'Aghadi' (front) and the Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI and other smaller parties are known by the term 'Mahayuti' (the grand alliance).

The two parties would also discuss whether they would contest the civic body polls with the Shiv Sena if the three parties join hands to form the government in the state. Polls to several civic bodies, including the Birhanmumbai Municipal Corporation, are to be held in 2022.

The two sides have deputed leaders for holding talks on a possible alliance. Accordingly Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel and Congress general secretary K C Venugopal besides some state leaders and Praful Patel, Sunil Tatkare, Ajit Pawar, Jayant Patil of the NCP were to meet to explore the possibility of an alliance with the Shiv Sena in the state.

Pawar had a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday. Pawar said if the NCP-Congress have to take a view on government formation, they have to first discuss it between themselves.

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