Published On: Mon, Nov 11th, 2019

Apprehensive of backlash elsewhere, Cong undecided on support to Sena

New Delhi: At least for now, dashing the hopes of Shiv Sena, the Congress on Monday did not commit support to a government headed by Uddhav Thackeray’s party in Maharashtra as some senior leaders expressed opposition to such a move.

When the meeting ended Venugopal said: “No decision yet”

According to sources, three senior leaders — AK Antony, Mallikarjun Kharge and KC Venugopal – particularly were opposed to extension of support to a Shiv Sena government as they feared backlash for the Congress in other states.

The Congress has not closed the window but the party has ideological issues with the Shiv Sena, said sources.

Even Maharashtra leader Manik Rao Thackeray had reservations as he said that “there is an issue of ideological differences with Shiv Sena”.

An indication about Congress’ disinclination to support the Shiv Sena came in the afternoon after the meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC) when Venugopal was asked about the decision. He laughed and said: “No outside or inside.”

A subsequent meeting saw Venugopal talking to the legislators from Maharashtra to ascertain their views.

When the meeting ended Venugopal said: “No decision yet.”

Soon after, the party issued a statement, which said: “The Congress Working Committee met this morning and had a detailed discussion on the situation in Maharashtra after which a consultation was held with Maharashtra Congress leaders. The Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) has spoken to Shri Sharad Pawar Ji. The party will have further discussion with NCP.”

Gandhi will speak to Pawar to take a final call on it.

Congress’ Maharashtra in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge said, “we have held discussion and further meeting will take place in Mumbai tomorrow.”

The Sena could not gauge the Congress style of functioning as its emissary waited to receive the letter of support while the meeting was underway.

The Shiv Sena had been given deadline till 7.30 pm on Monday by Maharashtra Governor BS Koshiyari to show support for formation of government.

In the 288-member Assembly, the Sena has 56 members, while the NCP has 54 and Congress 44. The majority figure is 145.

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