New Delhi: Inching another step closer towards the government formation in the politically torn state of Maharashtra, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Friday are set to meet the Shiv Sena to seal the deal and call the curtains on a week-long President’s Rule.

While the Congress-NCP alliance has confirmed upon their unanimity over all decisions, a few last pieces of the puzzle including a common minimum programme and ‘secularism’ need to be solved with the Sena following which the three parties, with a proposed name of ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’, will be ready to stake claim for Maharashtra government.

Here are the series of developments that took place today:

  1. Ahead of the Friday meeting, Shiv Sena leaders Uddhav Thackeray and Aaditya Thackeray reach NCP leader Sharad Pawar’s residence in Mumbai where Sena leader Sanjay Raut and NCP leader Ajit Pawar are also present.
  2. The final agenda with the approval of the Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena will be settled tomorrow following the meeting among the three parties. If all goes well, Uddhav Thackeray may take over as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
  3. After a crucial meeting at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence, Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan confirmed a “complete unanimity” between the two parties. “Congress & NCP have completed discussions on all issues. There is complete unanimity. Tomorrow in Mumbai, we will have a meeting with our other alliance parties. Later in the day, we will have a discussion with Shiv Sena,” he said.
  4. Prithviraj Chavan also said that the three parties have decided “in principle” to form a coalition, with two major points – a rotational chief minister on NCP’s wish, and inclusion of secularism in the agenda – remaining to be finalised. Sena, being a ‘Hindutva’ forward party, is not exactly in favour of the term ‘secular’ in the agenda discussed by the Congress.
  5. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that the three parties will come to a conclusion by this weekend and hand over their letters of support to Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari on Saturday.
  6. Reports suggested that if Friday’s deciding meet between the Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena ends on a positive note, a swearing-in ceremony is likely to take place on Sunday or Monday.
  7. Amidst the discussions, former Mumbai Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Sanjay Nirupam cautioned the Congress leadership against allying with the Sena and said that such a tie-up will prove disastrous. “It is better if the Congress president does not succumb to the pressure,” he had said.
  8. The Congress Working Committee met at Sonia Gandhi’s residence on Thursday morning, prior to the party’s discussion with the NCP. The committee held discussions to consider the ‘changed circumstances’ in order to disavow the misrule of the BJP government in Maharashtra.
  9. The Shiv Sena is desperately waiting for the support of Congress and the NCP. However, it is still adamant on claiming the post for chief minister. The saffron party has made it clear that it wants Udhhav Thackeray to govern the state for the entire term, and that it is the wish of the people of Maharashtra.
  10. The Congress and the NCP will also hold talks with their other pre-poll allies – Peasants Workers Party, Samajwadi Party, Swabhimani Paksh as well as CPI(M) – to gain support for government formation.