Sonia Gandhi's refusal to partner with the Shiv Sena comes hours after Nationalist Congress President (NCP) Sharad Pawar met her in New Delhi amid the stalemate between the Shiv Sena and the BJP over a power-sharing arrangement in Maharashtra.
After the meeting, Pawar maintained suspense over the issue.
Addressing the media after the meeting, the NCP supremo, flanked by Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel, said: "The NCP-Congress has been given a mandate to sit in the opposition. Also, we don't have the numbers. Only those who have numbers should form the government."
Pawar had also said that he is not in the race for the Chief Minister's post.
While the BJP-Shiv Sena stalemate persists, the latter has reportedly claimed the support of 175 legislators in the 288-member Assembly.
In the recent Assembly elections in Maharashtra, the BJP won 105 seats while the Shiv Sena got 56. The Congress-NCP alliance returned with 98 seats in the polls, out of which 44 seats belong to the Congress while 54 belong to its ally partner.