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Rediff.com  » News » How Many NCP MLAs Are With Ajit Pawar?

How Many NCP MLAs Are With Ajit Pawar?

By SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF
July 03, 2023 07:54 IST
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IMAGE: Maharashtra's new Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, flanked by senior Nationalist Congress Party leaders Praful Patel, left, and Chhagan Bhujbal, addresses a press conference after taking the oath of office, Mumbai, July 2, 2023.

The split between Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar came out in the open on Sunday, July 2, afternoon with the latter deciding to join the Maharashtra government with eight MLAs.

No one knows exactly how many NCP MLAs have crossed over as neither Sharad Pawar nor Ajit Pawar mentioned anything about it at their press conferences.

All that Ajit Pawar said was that the entire party was with him, without giving out the numbers on how many MLAs are with him.

According to a letter given by him to Governor Ramesh Bais on Sunday, Ajit Pawar claimed that he has the support of 40 MLAs and six MLCs, sources said.

The NCP has 53 MLAs and nine MLCs, of who nine MLAs including Ajit Pawar have joined the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government.

 

Unofficially, it is claimed that Ajit Pawar has the support of 29 MLAs, and the number could add up within a couple of days.

If so, the strategy employed by Ajit Pawar seems to be the same as Shinde;s last year when he broke the Shiv Sena with a dozen MLAs and moved to Guwahati, only to add more numbers to his side and getting 40 MLAs in all over the next 10 days.

Even as Ajit Pawar looked confident at the press conference held outside the NCP headquarters in Mumbai, party workers smeared the posters of the turncoat leaders with black ink.

What surprised many was the presence of Praful Patel, working president of the NCP, with Ajit Pawar as he was seen as a close confidant of Sharad Pawar for more than two decades.

Patel refused to comment when told that Sharad Pawar pointedly stated that action will be taken against him as he held the post of working president.

'We took this decision with everyone's consent. We are not a separate party,' Patel told the media, but refused to go into details.

The NCP MLAs who joined the government are Hasan Mushrif, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dhananjay Munde, Aditi Tatkare, Anil Patil, Sanjay Vansode, Dharamrao Baba and Dilip Walse Patil.

Bhujbal told the media, 'We have all the MLAs with us.'

However, this statement was categorically denied by Jitendra Awhad who was appointed as Leader of the Opposition after Ajit Pawar quit his post.

Awhad told a press conference, 'All the MLAs will have to abide by my whip,' thus indicating that those who do not follow the whip are likely to be disqualified as MLAs.

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SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF / Rediff.com in Mumbai
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