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Sonia meets senior leaders on Maharashtra govt formation

New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi held a meeting with senior party leaders A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and K.C. Venugopal on Tuesday as the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP closed in on a deal for government formation in Maharashtra with the issue of power sharing among the three parties being resolved within.

The Congress will hold talks with Nationalist Congress Party in New Delhi to finalise the draft common minimum programme (CMP) which will be vetted by the leadership. Kharge will lead the talks along with close Rahul Gandhi aide Venugopal and state leaders will be included, said sources.

Sources say that NCP is still pushing for the rotational arrangement for the top post but the first term of Chief Ministership is likely to go to the Shiv Sena. The deliberations on power sharing will be finalised by the high-powered committee for the three parties in this week and the final stamp will be put by the leaders of all the three parties.

As per the deal negotiated, the Congress will get Speaker’s post and a Deputy Chief Minister post in the government while NCP will get get post of legislative council chairman. All three parties are likely to get an equal share in the council of ministers.

The parties are negotiating for portfolios of Home, Finance, Revenue, Housing and Cooperatives in the state.

Congress is likely to pitch for Home and Revenue while NCP wants Finance and Cooperatives. The ministry of Coperatives is perceived as very important in the state as most of the sugar mills are owned by cooperative societies. Shiv Sena will get the Chief Minister’s post said a senior leader.

The Congress wants finalisation of the CMP before moving forward to an official announcement. The CMP will have clear cut objectives on the issue of core agenda of Shiv Sena as Congress is apprehensive about the attitude of Sena leaders.

–IANS

miz/aks/kr

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