The Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will form the next government in Maharashtra with Uddhav Thackeray as the chief minister, Sharad Pawar said on Friday evening.
The development came minutes after the top leadership of the three political parties concluded a meeting at the Science Centre in Mumbai. While Uddhav and Pawar left the meeting venue, other leaders continued to discuss other important aspects of an alliance not many imagined when the results were declared last month.
"The issue of leadership is not pending. There are no two opinions on the issue of chief ministership. There was a consensus on Uddhav Thackeray leading the new government,"
he told reporters after the meeting.
In a small press conference, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said there were positive takeaways from the meeting between NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena. He added the meeting will continue tomorrow as well.
When informed that Pawar had mentioned Uddhav will be the CM, Chavan said he won't "second-guess" on the matter, adding what the NCP patriarch said is "on record" for everyone.
The three parties are also trying to ensure no Karnataka-like situation emerges in future. The Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka lasted barely a year before a number of MLAs withdrew support, paving the way for the BJP to form the government in the state.
Pawar also said the three parties will hold a press conference on Saturday, adding Sena, Congress and NCP will continue their discussion on other details of the government. The NCP patriarch also said they will decide on when to approach the governor tomorrow.
Thackeray, too, confirmed that the talks were moving in the right direction, adding the parties will apprise the media of all the developments after fine-tuning the alliance.
Earlier in the day, senior BJP leader and Union minister Nitin Gadkari said even if the three parties formed the government in Maharashtra, it will not last beyond six to eight months. Besides that, he referred to the new arrangement between the three parties as an "alliance of opportunists".
The alliance forged by these "ideologically different" parties was just to keep the BJP out of power, which was unfortunate, Gadkari said in an interview to PTI during electioneering in Jharkhand.
"Opportunism is the base of their alliance. The three parties have become united with the sole motto of keeping the BJP out of power. I have doubts whether this government will be formed... Even if it is formed, it will not last beyond six to eight months,” Gadkari told PTI.