NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday told reporters that if Eknath Shinde is claiming to be the ‘real’ Shiv Sena, then the Maha Vikas Aghadi already have the majority to run the Maharashtra government. In what might be seen as a measure to side-step Thackeray’s authority, Pawar told reporters, “They (Eknath Shinde faction) say that they are Shiv Sena. So Shiv Sena+NCP+Congress together, we have a majority.”
Asserting that the MVA government has the majority, Pawar told reporters, “We are in power and have the majority. We are making decisions as a government does. Wouldn’t you have done the same if you were in power and had majority?”
On Friday, state minister Shinde, who is camping with other ‘rebel’ MLAs at a plush hotel in Assam’s Guwahati, claimed the support of at least 50 legislators, including 40 MLAs from the Shiv Sena camp. Shinde has claimed that the rebel camp is the “actual Shiv Sena”, after claiming that the party’s alliance with Congress and NCP was an “unnatural” one.
Shinde, now, has the support of two-third members of the party, the benchmark required to avoid the anti-defection law. In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, Shiv Sena, originally, had 55 MLAs. On Friday, in another setback to the MVA alliance, four MLAs, including three from Shiv Sena, were set to join the ‘rebel’ camp.
Meanwhile, the ‘Uddhav’ camp has written to Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, seeking to disqualify 16 of the ‘rebel’ MLAs. In retaliation, two Independent MLAs have sought the disqualification of Zirwal, who is from the NCP. While citing a Supreme Court judgement on this matter, the legislators have asked Zirwal not to be the deciding authority on the disqualification of the 16 ‘rebel’ legislators.