Maharashtra Crisis: Ajit Pawar says his faction is the real NCP (File)
Amid a power struggle with his nephew Ajit Pawar, who revolted against his leadership and joined Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra, NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar launched statewide tour from Nashik today to shore up support.
Here are 10 big updates on Maharashtra political crisis
Sharad Pawar, 82, today launched what he calls his mission to rebuild the party from the ground up. After Nashik, he will visit Pune, Solapur and some parts of the Vidarbha region -- constituencies of Chagan Bhujbal, Dhananjay Mundem and other rebel NCP MLAs.
Eknath Shinde today attended a public event in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli along with both his deputies - Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar. This was the first time the trio shared the stage after Pawar junior's big switch last Sunday.
The Gadchiroli event came hours after Devendra Fadnavis last evening met with Eknath Shinde for the second time in two days amid reports that Shiv Sena legislators had been reportedly upset after the NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar joined the state government. Ajit Pawar's remark that he "wants to be the Chief Minister" had also created a flutter in political circles.
Mr Fadnavis said that cabinet expansion will take place soon after another ally, Ajit Pawar, joined the ruling coalition in Maharashtra. He asserted that his party doesn't engineer splits in other parties, but never stops those who want to come along. "The BJP does not break other parties, but there will be no opposition to those who believe in Modi's leadership and want to come along, " Mr Fadnavis said.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray has claimed that Eknath Shinde has been asked to resign. "I have heard that Eknath Shinde has been asked to resign and there might be some change in the government," he told media.
Recently, Sanjay Raut had claimed that about 20 MLAs from Mr Shinde's group were in touch with his party since NCP leader Ajit Pawar joined the state government. "Since Ajit Pawar and other NCP leaders joined the government, 17-18 MLAs from the Shinde camp have contacted us," Sanjay Raut said.
Eknath Shinde, however, stressed that Ajit Pawar's entry into the ruling coalition posed no threat to him. "With our government now made up of three parties, the strength of our MLAs is more than 200. Our government is only getting stronger. We have the support of PM Modi and Amit Shah," said the Chief Minister.
Senior NCP leader Praful Patel yesterday said that Ajit Pawar was unanimously appointed as party president on June 30 - days before Ajit Pawar's shock move of crossing over to the ruling alliance and taking oath as Maharashtra's Deputy Chief Minister. "The decisions taken by the Sharad Pawar group, expelling or disqualifying leaders of the Ajit Pawar faction, were illegal and not applicable," he told the media.
Ajit Pawar says his faction is the real NCP and has claimed the party name and symbol from the Election Commission. So far, he appears to have the support of 32 MLAs. Sharad Pawar has the support of 14. But he needs 36 MLAs, a two-thirds majority of the party's 53 legislators, before the poll body considers his claim.
Sharad Pawar has written to the election body, objecting to his nephew's claim for the party symbol. Sources indicated that Pawar Senior will take legal advice and confer with party leaders about the way ahead.
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