Sena inches closer to kursi

Sena inches closer to kursi
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Highlights

Along with new allies NCP, Cong, it will meet Guv today

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena is certain to get the post of Chief Minister in Maharashtra soon as it inched closer on Friday to form a government in the state in alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.

The three parties will meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at 3 pm on Saturday.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik said the Governor had given the three parties an appointment to discuss the prevailing agrarian crisis in the state.

"The process to form government has begun, the government will run for full five years," sources said, quoting NCP chief Sharad Pawar as saying.

Malik said the Chief Minister's post will go to the Shiv Sena, the second largest party in the Assembly.

"Shiv Senawalked away from the 'mahayuti' (grand alliance) with Bharatiya Janata Party on the issue of Chief Minister's post," he said. "It is our responsibility to respect its sentiment," he added.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said his party would lead the next government in the state, and that the three parties were working out a common minimum programme.

The government of the three parties would be in the "state's interest", he told reporters in Mumbai. Raut claimed that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party would lead the government for the next "25 years" and not just five.

"Whether it is a single-party government or an alliance, an agenda for governance is necessary," Raut said. "There are infrastructure projects to be taken forward, (and issues related to) drought, unseasonal rains (are to be tackled).

Those coming with us are experienced administrators. We will benefit from their experience."

Raut said the Congress had contributed to the freedom struggle against colonialism, and the development of Maharashtra.

Asked if the Sena would give up its demand for the Bharat Ratna for Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, and accept Muslim reservation, Raut said: "We know the source of such speculation."

It was an indirect reference to the Sena's former ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party. Maharashtra is currently under President's Rule, as the two allies, despite having enough for a majority together, failed to agree on how to share power.

The Shiv Sena demanded the chief minister's post for half of the five-year term, but the BJP flatly refused. This led to the collapse of their decades-old alliance.

On Wednesday, BJP President Amit Shah accused the Shiv Sena of making demands that were not acceptable.

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