New Delhi: As speculations were rife that Shiv Sena and NCP may strike a chord and form the government in Maharashtra, NCP chief Sharad Pawar dismissed the speculation and questioned Sena’s commitment towards staying away from the BJP.

“BJP and Shiv Sena have got the mandate of people. So they should form the government as soon as possible,” Pawar said soon after Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut met the veteran NCP leader.

“Where is the question of a Shiv Sena-NCP government? They are together for the last 25 years. They will come together once again,” he said. Admitting that Sanjay Raut showed him a list of 170 MLAs, he said, “I have no idea how he has got the figures.”

“If we had the numbers, we wouldn’t have waited for anyone. The Congress and NCP didn’t cross the 100-mark. We will work as a responsible opposition,” he said.

A day after the Congress dismissed tying up with Sena and the BJP took Sangh help to bring Sena back to the discussion table, it was rumoured that NCP, on its own, was keen to form the government with the Sena and, in that case, a Sena leader would be the CM for the first 2.5 years. NCP would take the post for the last 2.5 years, sources said. The only condition imposed by the NCP was Arvind Sawant, the only Sena minister (Minister of heavy industries and public enterprise) in the Centre, should walk out of the government.

But NCP’s reluctance to form the government leaves Maharashtra with the only option of a Sena-BJP government. “We’ll only have discussions on the proposal that we had agreed on before the assembly polls. No new proposals will be exchanged now,” Raut said, unmoved from Sena’s position. “BJP and Shiv Sena had an agreement on the post of CM before elections and then only we moved ahead for an alliance for elections,” he added.

The tussle in Maharashtra over the formation of the government has been continuing since the results of the Assembly polls were announced on October 24. The BJP-Sena alliance won a combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288-member House.