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Last Lap of Maharashtra Drama Sets Off a Dash to Delhi as Fadnavis Calls on Amit Shah to Counter Pawar’s Play

Sharad Pawar Uddhav Thackeray Fadnavis

While NCP chief Sharad Pawar will meet Sonia Gandhi at her residence on Monday, BJP’s CM pick Fadnavis will call on party chief and union home minister Amit Shah.

New Delhi: As the deadlock over government formation in Maharashtra continues with neither the BJP nor the Shiv Sena ready to back off from their positions, two key players in the political drama – Devendra Fadnavis and Sharad Pawar – will head to Delhi on Monday to decide on their next moves.

While NCP chief Sharad Pawar will meet Sonia Gandhi at her residence, BJP’s CM pick Fadnavis will call on party chief and union home minister Amit Shah.

Although the meeting between Fadnavis and Shah has been called to discuss the drought relief measures for farmers, the two leaders are mainly going to discuss the stalemate in Maharashtra over government formation, sources told News18.

The impasse between the saffron allies, BJP and Shiv Sena, over their power-sharing pact has continued for 10 days after the result for Assembly polls were announced on October 24.

Both the BJP and the Shiv Sena have not made any new moves in the last couple of days, with both sides adamant on their positions and trying to drive a hard bargain. The Sena has made it clear that it would not settle for anything less than the sharing of the CM post, but BJP says it never promised that to its ally.

Both Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray have been touring drought-hit areas and backchannel talks are likely to resume once they return, sources said.

Amid the stalemate, Shiv Sena put the BJP on notice on Sunday as the party seems to have reached out to the Sharad Pawar-led party.

The speculation that Sena was exploring alternative options other than the ally BJP got strengthened when senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar showed reporters a phone message from Sena MP Sanjay Raut, which just contained a formal introduction of and greetings from the latter.

Speaking on the message, former deputy chief minister Pawar said, “This means I should call him. I will call and check.”

Notably, amidst the power tussle between the Sena and the BJP, the NCP has been maintaining that it would sit in the Opposition. But NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a closed-door meeting with his party leaders in Mumbai on Saturday to explore an alternate possibility of forming the government with Sena.

According to this arrangement, an NCP-Sena government with outside support from Congress would be formed. Several Congress leaders, including 40 of the party’s 44 MLAs are on board with the plan. But Sonia Gandhi is said to be hesitant as she feels allying with the Sena would hurt the party’s secular credentials, sources have said.

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