Even as it appeared clear that the ruling coalition in Maharashtra is tottering under the Eknath Shinde-led revolt, Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar on Thursday evening has asserted that there is no evidence that Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government is in a minority.
Pawar told media persons, “The Aghadi Government will continue to fight the BJP-sponsored rebellion. There is no concrete evidence that the government is in a minority. The numbers will be decided on the floor of the State Assembly.”
Earlier, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister, NCP leader and Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar announced his party’s support to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray while Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole said the party could surely back the Maha Vikas Aghadi government even from outside if the situation so demands.
The statements from both the alliance partners of the MVA came after Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told media persons that his party would consider leaving the coalition if the rebel MLAs “display the courage of returning and make an official representation demanding Sena’s exit from the alliance.”
On Sanjay Raut’s statement hinting at the possibility of a discussion on whether Shiv Sena should leave the alliance, Ajit Pawar refused to comment and said Raut’s statement might be an appeal to his party MLAs. “We don’t want to react to what he said. He may have made that statement while appealing to his party MLAs.” Pawar said.
Both NCP and the Congress held meetings on Thursday to discuss the political crisis in Maharashtra as rebel Sena MLA Eknath Shinde’s camp got strengthened with more legislators turning rebels.
Former Maharashtra chief minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan alleged that the entire operation is being orchestrated from Delhi and BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis is on his way to Delhi to take instruction and logistical support.
After NCP’s meeting, Chhagan Bhujbal said the MVA has the numbers as no MLA of Shiv Sena has resigned.
“We stand with CM Uddhav Thackeray & will support him till the last moment… We have the numbers for the govt as no MLA of Shiv Sena has resigned nor Shiv Sena has expelled anyone from the party,” Bhujbal said.
The Maharashtra crisis took a new turn with Raut’s statement that Sena is ready to quit the coalition. The Shiv Sena MP also claimed that he was in touch with the rebel MLAs camping in Guwahati.
Hindutva has emerged as a major issue behind the rebellion as the Eknath Shinde camp claimed Uddhav’s Shiv Sena has moved from its ideal of Hindutva. Shinde termed the Sena-NCP-Congress alliance ‘unnatural’ and said Shiv Sena got eclipsed in the alliance while the other two parties prospered from the tie-up.