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We have 162 MLAs; this is not Goa: Pawar at show of strength

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 25, 2019 23:06 IST
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A day before the Supreme Court rules on floor test for Maharashtra government led by Devendra Fadnavis whose swearing-in has been challenged by the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress combine, the three parties paraded 162 MLAs in a show of strength at a luxury hotel in Mumbai.

IMAGE: NCP chief Sharad Pawar speaks as NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena MLAs gather along with senior leaders to display their strength to form the government, at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai. Photograph: PTI Photo

At the event, the MLAs took oath to not fall prey to any inducements by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

NCP MLA Dhananjay Munde said 162 MLAs of the three parties were present at the event in evening.

The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has the strength of 288 MLAs where the halfway mark is 145.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar told the gathering of MLAs that he would personally ensure that none of them loses membership for voting against the BJP during floor test in the assembly.

Pawar addressed a joint meeting of the MLAs of 'Maha Vikas Aghadi' comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress at the five-star hotel.

The NCP chief said BJP has tried unconstitutional ways to gain power in Goa and some other states.

"Maharashtra is not Goa and it is time to teach them a lesson," Pawar said.

IMAGE: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray along with NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena MLAs take a pledge during a gathering to display their strength, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai. Photograph: Mitesh Bhuvad/PTI Photo

"A misinformation is being spread that Ajit Pawar is the NCP's legislature party leader who would issue a whip to all (NCP) MLAs to vote for the BJP (in floor test). It is being said that whoever defies the whip would lose his membership of the House," Pawar said.

The NCP chief added that he had consulted several constitutional and legal experts and also gone through previous instances on the issue of technicalities.

"I have come to the conclusion that Ajit Pawar, who was removed from his position (as the NCP legislature party leader for joining hands with the BJP in forming a government), has no legal right to issue a whip to MLAs," Pawar said.

"I personally take the responsibility that your membership of the House will not become null and void. People who have acquired power illegally have to be removed now," Pawar said apparently referring to the BJP.

WATCH: NCP-Sena-Congress MLAs take pledge to be loyal to party

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, speaking at the event, asked the BJP to "make way" for the Sena-NCP-Congress alliance to rule Maharashtra.

Congress leader Ashok Chavan said, "We are more than 162, not just 162. We all will be a part of the government. I thank Sonia Gandhi who allowed for this alliance to stop BJP."

"The governor should invite us to form government," he said.

Responding to the show of strength by the three-party alliance, BJP MLA Ashish Shelar said a majority in the assembly cannot be proved by such "identification parades".

IMAGE: Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray speaking to the MLAs said that 'the more you try to break us, the more we will unite'. Photograph: PTI Photo

NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad hit back at Shelar saying, "We have not indulged in any childish act, but it's (alliance of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) is a consensual marriage with blessings from elders".

"It is not an illegal marriage with an under-age girl where you are seeking to postpone the court hearing under the fear of getting exposed. You are playing with democratic norms and you will face a backlash from our majority during floor test," Awhad added.

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