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The BJP's Devendra Fadnavis, who led the party delegation for the meet with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, said: "We have written to the Governor and told him that Shiv Sena's 39 MLAs are repeatedly saying they don't want to be in an alliance with the Congress-NCP. This means they are not with the government".
"So we have told the Governor that he should ask the Chief Minister to conduct a floor test and prove majority," added Mr Fadnavis, who met the Governor on his way back from Delhi. He was accompanied by Girish Mahajan and state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil.
In Delhi, Mr Fadnavis had a 30-minute strategy session with BJP chief JP Nadda amid speculation that the party was about to stake claim to form government.
The Shiv Sena rebels, whom Mr Fadnavis had invoked, are still camping in Guwahati. Rebel leader Eknath Shinde, who said they will move to Mumbai soon, has claimed that he has the support of nearly 50 MLAs, 40 of them from the Sena and the rest Independents.
The majority mark currently stands at 144 in the 287-member state assembly. The ruling alliance of the Shiv Sena, Congress and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party has 152 MLAs. A reduction of 40 MLAs will reduce it to a minority.
The Team Thackeray has claimed that irrespective of the two-thirds majority loophole, the Shinde faction cannot escape the anti-defection law unless they join the BJP'—an option Mr Shinde has so far been silent on.
The Team Thackeray has also sought the disqualification of 17 MLAs, which will bring down the majority mark in the assembly in their favour. Both sides have gone to the Supreme Court, where the matter is pending.
The Team Thackeray had requested the Supreme Court that no floor test be allowed till the matter of disqualification notices to 17 rebel MLAs be settled. The court has refused to pass orders on it.
In a day of fast-paced developments, Mr Thackeray had sought a meeting with the rebels on their return to Mumbai, which is likely on Thursday. His team has claimed that they have been in touch with nearly 20 MLAs, who disapprove of Mr Shinde's plan to ally with the BJP and rule the state.
"I want to appeal to you - time is still not lost. Please come, sit with me, remove all doubts from the minds of Shiv Sainiks and the public, then we can find a way out," Mr Thackeray wrote in his letter to the MLAs. The Shiv Sena has accused the BJP of masterminding the revolt and hounding its leaders using investigating agencies – an allegation the BJP has denied.
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