Section in Cong fears long-term consequences

NEW DELHI:Though the Congress didn’t open its cards about whether it was willing to truck with the Shiv Sena in government formation, it was apparent from daylong discussions across the three parties that the possibility of an NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena government was still on the table.

Section in Cong fears long-term consequences

Sonia Gandhi, Party chief

ROBINSINGH@TRIBUNE.COM

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 11

Though the Congress didn’t open its cards about whether it was willing to truck with the Shiv Sena in government formation, it was apparent from daylong discussions across the three parties that the possibility of an NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena government was still on the table.

A Congress statement at the end of day’s deliberations left the matter open as it said party chief Sonia Gandhi had spoken to NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and the Congress would hold further discussions with the NCP on the issue.

A delegation of Congress leaders, including AICC general secretary in charge Mallikarjun Kharge and senior state leaders like former CMs Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan, will meet Pawar in Mumbai tomorrow.

A majority of the Congress MLAs in Maharashtra favoured forming a government in the state with Sena and NCP and also joining the government. Thirty-five of the Congress’ 44 legislators even gave this in writing to Sonia, who was torn all day between two sections of the party — one that feared long-term consequences of backing an ideologically distant Sena and another that supported the idea of a pact with Sena and NCP to keep the BJP away.

It is learnt that Congress veteran AK Antony and AICC general secretary KC Venugopal opposed the idea.

Maharashtra MLAs, however, spoke of how Sena chief's father Bal Thackeray was a socialist and how Sena intermittently backed Congress in the state. "Sena supported late Murli Deora for the post of Mumbai Mayor in 1977; Sena did not put up candidates against Congress in the 1980 elections; it backed Congress' Presidential candidates Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee," said a Maharashtra Congress leader. 

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