Negotiations Took Too Long, Says Congress’s Abhishek Singhvi On Maharashtra Coup

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Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said his party took too long to finalise the alliance


Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi has lamented his party’s delay in extending support to the Shiv Sena and the NCP to form the government in Maharashtra. Mr Singhvi’s tweet came less than two hours after a dramatic overnight twist in Mumbai saw the BJP retain power in the state on the back of an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). In a tweet posted at 8.45 am, Mr Singhvi described the news of a BJP-NCP alliance as “surreal” and said Congress negotiations with the Sena and the NCP had taken too long.

“Surreal what I read abt #Maharashtra. Thought it was fake news. Candidly &personally speaking, our tripartite negotiations shd not have gone on for more than 3 days…took too long. Window given was grabbed by fast movers,” Abhishek Singhvi wrote.

Mr Singhvi also wrote: “#pawarjitussi grt ho (you are great)! Amazing if true, still not sure”, in a reference to NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who is party chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew and has now been sworn-in as Deputy Chief Minister after engineering a surprise alliance with the BJP.

On Friday Mr Singhvi had told NDTV that a potential Sena-Congress-NCP leaders were “working out commonalities” and that a “broad blueprint (for the alliance)” had been worked out.

Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar has tweeted saying his nephew’s decision to support the BJP is “personal and not that of the Nationalist Congress Party”.

Government formation in the state had appeared to be a done deal late Saturday night after a lengthy tripartite meeting between the Sena, the Congress and the NCP resulted in Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray being announced as the alliance’s Chief Minister.

However, the BJP upended all expectations and formed an alliance with the NCP. Devendra Fadnavis took oath as Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar was sworn in as his deputy.

Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi took her time over green-lighting a potential partnership with the ideologically incompatible Shiv Sena, despite top leaders repeatedly advising her that such an alliance was politically expedient to keep the BJP out of power in the country’s financial hub.

On Wednesday, after weeks of negotiations, the three parties seemed to have cleared obstacles hindering them from joining hands and forming the government. Sena leader Sanjay Raut said letters of support from the MLAs of all three parties would be handed over to the Governor on Saturday.

However, that now appears to have been too little, too late.

Also on Wednesday Sharad Pawar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officially on the farm crisis in Maharashtra.

The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in the state elections last month, could not earlier stake claim to form a government after it could not reach an agreement with its former ally Shiv Sena on its “50:50” demand.

The BJP won 105 seats in the 288-member assembly followed by the Shiv Sena (56). The NCP won 54 seats and its Congress had won 44 seats.

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