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Maharashtra: Pawar meets Sonia, keeps suspense alive


Sharad Pawar


New Delhi: Amid the stalemate between the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar had a hour-long meeting with Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, here on Monday.

Addressing the media after the meeting, Pawar, flanked by Ajit Pawar and Prafull Patel, said the "NCP-Congress has been mandated to sit in the opposition. Also, we don't have numbers."

"Only those who have numbers should form the government," he said.

Stating that he is not in the race for the Chief Minister's post, Pawar said he would meet party colleagues in Mumbai on Tuesday and pay another visit to Sonia Gandhi after that.

Senior Congress leader A.K. Antony was also present during the meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Pawar added.

On the ongoing BJP-Sena political wrangle, Pawar said the problem between them was serious and it was not just the posturing.

The NCP strongman denied any proposal from the Sena leadership and discussions with Sena MP Sanjay Raut. "Any meeting on this issue will only be with Sena chief Uddhav Thackrey," the NCP chief said.

Most top Congress leaders from Maharashtra have discussed with Sonia Gandhi the unfolding political situation in the state. They have also met Pawar.

While some Congress leaders, like Hussain Dalwai, an MP, are openly advocating extending support to the Sena for the government formation; others, like Sanjay Nirupam, are suggesting caution.

While the BJP-Sena stalemate is persisting, the Sena has claimed support of 175 legislators in the 288-member Assembly.

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