Vijay Singh in Mumbai
The Democratic Front government in Maharashtra suffered a major setback on Tuesday when four MLAs belonging to its main constituent -- the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party -- withdrew support to the ruling coalition.
Two more MLAs -- Hitendra Thakur of the Native People's Party and Gangaram Thakarwar of the Janata Dal (secular) -- also met the governor in the morning with letters of withdrawal of support to the government.
The governor has given Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh ten days time to prove his majority.
The DF government was reduced to a simple majority of 145 MLAs on Monday after eight independent MLAs withdrew support to the government.
The four NCP MLAs who have withdrawn support to the government are: Vinayak Gore, Narsingh Gurunath, Narayan Pawar and Shivaji Nayak.
Though party general secretary Gurunath Kulkarni denied knowledge of any such development, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Govindrao Adik confirmed that four NCP MLAs had met the governor.
He, however, said there was no threat to the DF government. "You have to take into account the fact that the NCP MLAs would have to have the support of one-third of the party to escape the anti-defection law," Adik said.
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