#SharadPawar #UddhavThackeray #AjitPawar #NCP #BJP
Hours after his nephew Ajit Pawar was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday said the legislature wing of the party would elect a new leader later in the evening.
Addressing a press conference here, Sharad Pawar, who was accompanied by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis did not have the numbers to win the vote of confidence in the Maharashtra Assembly.
Pawar also produced three MLAs of the NCP, who accused Ajit of luring them to the Raj Bhavan where they were paraded before Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.
“Ten to 11 MLAs had gone with Ajit Pawar to the Raj Bhavan this morning. Of them three are with me here and the others will soon follow,” Sharad Pawar said.
He added that the MLAs who were still with Ajit Pawar knew that they stood to lose their membership of the state Assembly under the anti-defection law. “All the MLAs who went with Ajit Pawar are in touch with us,” Sharad Pawar said.
The Maratha chieftain pointed out that as leader of the NCP legislature party, Ajit Pawar had a list of signatures of all the party MLAs. “I assume he has submitted the same list to the Governor. I will have to speak to the Governor and find out,” Pawar said.
Three MLAs, who were taken to the Raj Bhavan by Ajit Pawar, showed up at Sharad Pawar’s press conference where they alleged that they were duped by the younger leader. “Ajit Pawar had called me to discuss something where I found some other MLAs. We were all suddenly taken to Raj Bhavan and before we could understand what was happening, the oath-taking ceremony was completed,” NCP MLA Rajendra Shingane told reporters. His testimony was backed by two other NCP MLAs, Sandip Kshirsagar and Sunil Bhusara, who said they were unwittingly taken to the Raj Bhavan for the oath-taking ceremony.
The three leaders said they immediately came to Sharad Pawar as soon as they got out of Raj Bhavan.
Addressing the media, Uddhav Thackeray said the BJP is practising horse-trading. “Let them try luring any Shiv Sena MLA and they know what awaits them,” Thackeray said.
Hitting out at Fadnavis, Thackeray said the CM did not respect democratic values. “…..from now on there is no need for election. Instead of saying ‘I will return’ some people should simply apply Fevicol to their chair and sit on it,” Thackeray said.
Later in the day, senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said Ajit Pawar gave the letter of support on behalf of all 54 NCP MLAs. “There is no need for a separate letter from each legislator. The letter from the leader of the Legislature Party is sufficient,” Mungantiwar told reporters.