Maharashtra politics updates | Ajit Pawar meets Fadnavis; CMO says they discussed farmers issue

NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad (left) confronts a policeman (extreme right) at a Mumbai hotel on November 24, 2019. Photo: Special Arrangement

NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad (left) confronts a policeman (extreme right) at a Mumbai hotel on November 24, 2019. Photo: Special Arrangement  

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NCP shifts MLAs to another hotel in Mumbai; Sena to follow suit; rival camps hold series of meetings in Mumbai.

The government formation in Maharashtra has come under the Supreme Court's scrutiny with the Centre being asked to produce before the court on November 25 morning the letters of the Governor inviting Devendra Fadnavis as well as the communication of the BJP leader staking his claim.

As the stunning political drama shifted to the apex court on November 24, a day after Mr. Fadnavis returned as the Chief Minister, the Shiv Sena claimed that the Sena-NCP-Congress combine has a support of 165 MLAs and can comfortably prove its majority in the Assembly. The BJP also claimed that Mr. Fadnavis had the support of 170 MLAs.

In the assembly polls held in October, the BJP had won 105 seats, the Shiv Sena 56, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44.

Our correspondents Alok Deshpande, Tanvi Deshpande and Sharad Vyas report from Mumbai, and legal correspondent Krishnadas Rajagopal reports from the Supreme Court in Delhi:

Here are the live updates:

11.45 pm

Ajit Pawar meets Fadnavis; CMO says they discussed farmers issue

After remaining ensconced in his south Mumbai residence throughout the day, Mr. Ajit Pawar met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis late in the night and held discussions.

Senior BJP leaders Chandrakant Patil, Vinod Tawade and Girish Mahajan attended the meeting held at the official residence of the Chief Minister, party sources said.

A late night tweet from the CMO Maharashtra, however, said the CM and the Deputy CM discussed various measures for rain-hit farmers.

“CM @Dev_Fadnavis and DCM @AjitPawarSpeaks today met and discussed on various measures for additional support & assistance to unseasonal rain affected farmers. Tomorrow it will be further discussed with the Chief Secretary & Finance Secretary“.

 

11.30 pm

 

NCP shifts MLAs to another hotel in Mumbai; Sena to follow suit

In a late night development, MLAs of the NCP were shifted from a suburban resort to another hotel in Mumbai, sources said.

The MLAs travelled in a bus to a different hotel from Hotel Renaissance in Powai where they were put up since November 23 night.

It is also learnt that MLAs of the Shiv Sena, who are staying at Lalit Hotel near the Mumbai airport, will also be moved to another hotel.

Meanwhile, independent MLA Ravi Rana, who has extended his support to the BJP, claimed the Shiv Sena will witness a “big earthquake” soon. He claimed that Mr. Fadnavis will get the support of 175 MLAs. - PTI

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11 pm

 

Three NCP legislators taken to Delhi by BJP: Nawab Malik

The NCP has claimed three MLAs, who had attended the swearing-in of Ajit Pawar, were flown to Delhi in a chartered plane by the BJP on November 23.

NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said the three MLAs have said that they are with the party.

He said while Daulat Daroda and Nitin Pawar have sent video messages saying they are with the NCP, another MLA Narhari Zirwal’s message was shared on the twitter handle of the NCP.

Mr. Daroda, Mr. Nitin Pawar and Mr. Zirwal represent Shahapur, Kalwan and Dindori Assembly constituencies, respectively.

“Daulat Daroda, Nitin Pawar and Narhari Zirwal were taken to Delhi by the BJP in a chartered plane yesterday,” Mr. Malik said, adding that “Pawar and Daroda have sent us their video messages saying they are with the party“.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Malik said that apart from the three MLAs, Babasaheb Patil (Ahmedpur), Anil Patil (Amalner) were reported ‘missing’.

While Mr. Patil tweeted that he is with the NCP, video messages of Babasaheb Patil, Pawar and Zirwal were shared on the twitter handle of the NCP. Mr. Malik said these MLAs will be back in the party soon.

Mr. Malik had taken to Twitter and tagged Mr. Patil’s tweet in which the latter said he continues to be part of the NCP and expressed faith in the leadership of Mr. Sharad Pawar. In the tweet, Mr. Patil said he went to the Raj Bhavan since Mr. Ajit Pawar was the legislature party leader.

“I wasn’t aware about what was going to happen at the Raj Bhavan. I am with Sharad Pawar,” Mr. Patil said in the tweet.

On November 23, Mr. Daroda’s family filed a missing person complaint with police.

9.30 pm

Rival camps hold series of meetings in Mumbai

Top leaders of the BJP and the Congress-Shiv Sena-NCP combine held a series of separate meetings to brace themselves for an impending floor test.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and AICC general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge held a string of meetings with Maharashtra Congress leaders and MLAs throughout the day. Congress MLAs are staying at J W Marriott in Juhu.

According to sources, Mr. Patel and Mr. Kharge coordinated with the legal team of senior Congress leaders and lawyers Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi in Delhi.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray met MLAs of the NCP at Hotel Renaissance in suburban Powai along with Sharad Pawar. Mr. Thackeray also interacted with the MLAs of his party at Hotel Lalit near the Mumbai international airport, and asked them to be “cautious“.

“Spread out so that you can keep a watch on who is around you,” he told the MLAs. - PTI

8.50 pm

 

NCP workers question presence of policemen at Mumbai hotel

A video of two plainclothesmen present in a Mumbai suburban hotel, where NCP MLAs are put up, being confronted by a party leader and supporters has gone viral. The video shows party MLA Jitendra Awhad and workers asking the policemen about their business in Hotel Renaissance in Powai.

The legislators were moved to the hotel on the night of November 23.

When Mr. Awhad asked one of the policemen the reason behind their presence at the hotel, he replied they were just “sitting there“.

Mr. Awhad even examined the identity card of the official. “Such a high-ranking officer is sitting here for no reason? Do you think we are fools,” he asked further.

 

The Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena are guarding their MLAs in different hotels in Mumbai, to ward off any attempt of poaching ahead of the floor test in the Assembly, schedule of which is not announced yet.

NCP supporters confront a plainclotheman at a Mumbai hotel on November 24, 2019. Photo: Special Arrangement

NCP supporters confront a plainclotheman at a Mumbai hotel on November 24, 2019. Photo: Special Arrangement  

- PTI

8 pm

 

Dhananjay Munde says he’s with Sharad Pawar

Now, it’s NCP leader Dhananjay Munde’s turn to assert his loyalty to the party and Mr. Sharad Pawar.  “I am with the NCP. I am with Pawar saheb. Please don’t spread rumours,” Mr. Munde, who is said to be close to Ajit Pawar, tweeted in Marathi.

 

7.15 pm

Congress leader Ashok Chavan accuses BJP of poaching attempts

Senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan alleged that BJP leaders had booked rooms in hotels where his party MLAs are put up and were contacting some of them.

Speculation was rife that the task of getting MLAs into the BJP’s fold has been entrusted to senior leader Radhkrishna Vikhe Patil, who had crossed over from the Congress to the BJP ahead of the October Assembly polls, Sainik-turned-Congressman-turned BJP Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane, NCP-turned-BJP MLA Ganesh Naik and Babanrao Pachpute.

When asked about the speculation, Mr. Vikhe Patil gave a cryptic and open-to-interpretation reply, stating “I have good relations with all MLAs”.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan (centre) comes out of Hotel Marriot to address the media at Andheri, Mumbai on November 24, 2019.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan (centre) comes out of Hotel Marriot to address the media at Andheri, Mumbai on November 24, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Aadesh Choudhari

 

Mr. Chavan told reporters that some Congress MLAs had told him about the move by the BJP.

“Our MLAs are united and will not be poached,” Mr. Chavan said.

MLAs of the Congress, NCP and Sena are sequestered in different hotels in the metropolis, to stall any attempts by the BJP to poach them ahead of the floor test in the Assembly.

Incidentally, BJP leader Ravindra Chavan was seen entering Hotel Renaissance in suburban Powai where NCP MLAs have been staying since November 23 evening.

Sources said these NCP MLAs are now being moved to another location nearby.

The Congress legislators were earlier supposed to leave for Jaipur, but were later put up in Mumbai in view of the fast-paced political developments, according to sources.

While the Congress MLAs are staying in J W Marriott hotel in Juhu, Shive Sena MLAs are staying at The Lalit hotel located near the Mumbai international airport.

According to sources, Independent and other MLAs could tilt the scales in favour of either the BJP-led government of Mr. Fadnavis backed by Ajit Pawar or the Sena-Congress-NCP combine during the floor test. — PTI

6.50 pm

Uddhav meets ‘Renaissance Man’ Pawar, NCP says game on

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, in the presence of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, speaks to NCP MLAs at Hotel Renaisance in Powai, Mumbai on November 24, 2018.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, in the presence of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, speaks to NCP MLAs at Hotel Renaisance in Powai, Mumbai on November 24, 2018.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

 

The new-found bonhomie between the NCP and Shiv Sena was on display on November 24 after Uddhav Thackeray met Sharad Pawar at a Mumbai luxury hotel where NCP MLAs were lodged amid the high ongoing political drama in Maharashtra.

Incidentally, NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto dubbed Mr. Sharad Pawar, the 20-year-old party’s founder, as ‘Renaissance Man’, even as Mr. Thackeray met the NCP chief at the suburban hotel bearing the same name.

“Hey #BJP, Game on. Our ‘Renaissance Man’ v/s your modern day so-called ‘#Chanakya’ Bring it on,” Mr. Crasto tweeted.

Earlier in the day, NCP leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he would work hard for people of the State.

Responding to Ajit Pawar’s tweet, Mr. Crasto tweeted, “Dear Ajit Dada, Nice to see you reply to our Hon. PM’s good wishes but just want to remind you that you are being wished because you left the hands of the Man who held your hand & taught you how to walk in your personal & political life. Wishing you the best for the future.” — PTI

6.00 pm

No question of forming alliance with BJP: Sharad Pawar

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, in the presence Shiv Sena party president Uddhav Thackeray, speaks to party MLAs at hotel Renaisance in Powai, Mumbai on November 24, 2019.

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, in the presence Shiv Sena party president Uddhav Thackeray, speaks to party MLAs at hotel Renaisance in Powai, Mumbai on November 24, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar said there was no question of an alliance with the BJP in Maharashtra.

He was reacting to his nephew Ajit Pawar’s tweets that he was still with NCP and that the “BJP-NCP alliance” would provide a stable government in the State.

“There is no question of forming an alliance with @BJP4Maharashtra. NCP has unanimously decided to ally with @ShivSena & @INCMaharashtra to form the government,” Mr. Sharad Pawar tweeted.

“Shri Ajit Pawar’s statement is false and misleading in order to create confusion and false perception among the people,” he added. — PTI

 

5.30 pm

Galaxy of leaders witness hearing in SC

Former CM of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Randeep Surjewala address media at Supreme Court of India on Maharashtra issue

Former CM of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Randeep Surjewala address media at Supreme Court of India on Maharashtra issue   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The unprecedented hearing in the Supreme Court on November 24, on a plea by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine against the Maharashtra Governor’s decision to invite Devendra Fadanvis to form the State government, saw politicians like ex-Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Randeep Surjewala in the packed courtroom to witness proceedings.

A galaxy of leaders of the alliance, including former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar and NCP leader and Rajya Sabha lawmaker Majeed Memon, were seen waiting outside the courtroom much before the start of the crucial proceedings at 11.30 a.m.

Despite being a Sunday, the courtroom was packed with lawyers, scribes and leaders of parties even before the hearing began. They were all trying hard to get closer to the dias to watch the proceedings.

Journalists had a tough time in jotting down notes as lawyers and the leaders jostled for space in their bid to go near the dias in an already packed courtroom.

Mr. Chavan and Mr. Surejewala were seen sitting on chairs earmarked for lawyers in the courtroom and they keenly watched the proceedings.

On conclusion of proceedings, the leaders, flanked by lawyers, rushed to the Supreme Court lawn to give sound bytes to waiting video journalists. — PTI

4.45 pm

Ajit Pawar assures Modi of stable government in Maharashtra

In a clear message sent to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) that he is not going to withdraw his rebellion, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as all the leaders of BJP who congratulated him on Saturday for taking oath along with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

“Thank you Hon. Prime Minister @narendramodi ji. We will ensure a stable government that will work hard for the welfare of the people of Maharashtra,” he tweeted.

 

In another tweet, Mr. Pawar said “I am in the NCP and shall always be in the NCP and @PawarSpeaks Saheb is our leader. Our BJP-NCP alliance shall provide a stable Government in Maharashtra for the next five years which will work sincerely for the welfare of the State and its people.

“There is absolutely no need to worry, all is well. However a little patience is required. Thank you very much for all your support.”

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2.15 pm

 

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is expected to visit Hotel Renaissance where NCP leaders and legislators are staying presently.

He is also expected to go to Hotel J.W. Marriott where Congress leaders and legislators are put up.

2 pm

Fadnavis govt should be asked to undergo immediate floor test: Congress

Congress leader Prithivraj Chavan on Sunday demanded that the Fadnavis government in Maharashtra be asked undergo immediate floor test.

Talking to reporters outside the Supreme Court, Chavan said that in the joint plea by the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena, they have sought Supreme Court’s intervention to order immediate floor test. -— PTI

1.45 pm

When leaders meet:

NCP president Sharad Pawar reaches Hotel Renaisance, Powai in Mumbai to meet party MLAs

NCP president Sharad Pawar reaches Hotel Renaisance, Powai in Mumbai to meet party MLAs   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

 

NCP State president Jayant Patil , Dilip Walse Patil leave after meeting Ajit Pawar at his South Mumbai residence on Sunday.

NCP State president Jayant Patil , Dilip Walse Patil leave after meeting Ajit Pawar at his South Mumbai residence on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

 

1.30 pm

We still have a majority with 165 legislators, says Sena leader Sanjay Raut

Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday said that November 23 was a “black Saturday” and maintained that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (the Sena, the Congress, the NCP) still had a majority with 165 legislators.

Speaking to the media on Sunday morning, Mr. Raut said, “[NCP chief] Sharad Pawar is a national leader, if the BJP is trying to break his party, this will boomerang on the BJP. Even before the Assembly election, there was an attempt to break the NCP when the BJP poached people from the NCP. Poaching Ajit Pawar was their last move which has boomeranged. They were expecting around 25 MLAs to support Ajit Pawar. I hope the BJP has come out of that delusion now. Nearly all the NCP MLAs have returned, barely five MLAs may have stayed, and in return of five MLAs, the BJP has given Ajit Pawar Deputy CM position? They were supposed to be good at business but now are struggling,” said Mr. Raut.

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1 pm

Have numbers to form government in Maharashtra: Sena-NCP-Cong combine to SC

The Shiv Sena-NCP-Cong combine on Sunday told the Supreme Court that they have the majority in the Maharashtra Assembly and if Devendra Fadnavis has the numbers he should prove majority on floor of the House.

The combine also said that it was ‘betrayal and annihilation’ of democracy that government has been allowed to be formed when 41 NCP MLAs are not with the BJP.

“If Devendra Fadnavis has numbers to prove majority, let him prove it on the floor of House, else we have numbers to form government in Maharashtra,” senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the combine, submitted before a bench comprising Justices N.V. Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna.

Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, also appearing for the combine, submitted that 41 MLAs of NCP are with Sharad Pawar.

While 54 is the total strength of NCP, 41 MLAs wrote to the Maharashtra Governor saying Ajit Pawar has been removed as its leader, Mr. Singhvi told the Bench.

Mr. Sibal said that November 30 deadline given by the Governor to the ruling party to prove majority is meant to do ‘something else’.

“It is a complete ‘betrayal and annihilation’ of democracy where government has been allowed to be formed when 41 NCP MLAs are not with them, ” they submitted.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for some BJP and independent MLAs, said the plea filed by the combine should have been filed in Bombay High Court.

The top court said none is disputing that floor test is best method to show majority.

Mr. Rohatgi said how can a political party approach apex court under Article 32 for violation of Fundamental Rights.

Mr. Singhvi refers to judgments in various cases including dismissal of Uttarakhand Congress government, saying that floor test is ultimate test.

He also referred to 2018 apex court’s order in Karnataka case and said floor test was ordered and there was no secret ballot.

“Floor test is Constitutional obligation, no formality is needed and it can be ordered,” Mr. Singhvi told the Bench.

Mr. Rohatgi, appearing for the BJP and independent MLAs, opposed the NCP plea.

“They (three parties) were given time but they did not form government, so let Fadnavis prove majority as there was no tearing hurry," Mr. Rohatgi told the Bench. PTI

12.30 pm

SC issues notices to Centre, Maha govt, Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar

The Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre and Maharashtra government on a petition filed by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Cong combine against the Maharashtra Governor’s decision to swear in Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.

A Bench of Justices N.V. Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna also isused notices to Mr. Fadnavis and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

The Bench also asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to produce letters of the Governor tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. for passing orders.

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12.10 pm

After Babasaheb Patil, another NCP MLA Daulat Daroda, in a video message, has pledged his support to NCP.

Meanwhile, NCP leader Chagan Bhujbal said that Sharad Pawar will meet NCP MLA's at 2 p.m.

NCP leader Chagan Bhujbal arrives at Hotel Renaisance, Powai in Mumbai to meet party MLA's.

NCP leader Chagan Bhujbal arrives at Hotel Renaisance, Powai in Mumbai to meet party MLA's.   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

 

11.30 am

SC begins hearing on Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress plea

Supreme Court begins hearing on the joint petition by Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena against the “illegal usurpation of power” by the BJP in Maharashtra, leading to a “hurried and makeshift” swearing-in ceremony which installed Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.

A three-judge Bench, comprising of Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, are hearing the petition.

The petition was filed late on Saturday and the court saw a throng of leaders from the political combine. The Registry, after scrutinising the documents, formally accepted it at 8.23 p.m.

The petition has made the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, State of Maharashtra, and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is also NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew, respondents in the case.

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11.20 am

NCP leader Patil meets Governor

NCP leader Jayant Patil meets Maharashtra Governor at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.

"We have submitted the letter signed by MLAs to Governor's office. We will be meeting our MLAs at 2.30 p.m. Those who were absent yesterday will come today," he said.

Missing NCP MLA Babasaheb Patil has returned to the party.

Mr. Patil said that he is going to meet Ajit Pawar. "All our MLAs have come back. I don't want Ajit Pawar to left out. We want him also to come back," said Mr. Patil.

Meanwhile, BJP Rajya Sabha MP and former NCP leader Sanjay Kakde has reached the Silver Oak residence of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

11.10 am

Sena-NCP-Cong combine has support of 165 MLAs: Raut

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday claimed that the Sena-NCP-Congress combine has the support of 165 MLAs to prove majority in the Maharashtra Assembly.

Addressing reporters here, Mr. Raut alleged that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari allowed the new government (headed by BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis) to be formed on the basis of “bogus” documents.

He also said the deadline of November 30 given to the government to prove majority is only to enable defections.

“The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress (together) have 165 MLAs. If the Governor calls for an identification parade, in 10 minutes we can prove our majority,” Mr. Raut said.

He also said that November 23 was a “black Saturday” in the history of Maharashtra.

The BJP has no right to call the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi as ‘black day’, he said. PTI

11.00 am

Sacking of Ajit Pawar as head of NCP legislative unit unconstitutional: BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called the sacking of Ajit Pawar as the head of the legislative unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) unconstitutional. 

Mr. Pawar was removed by the NCP’s parliamentary board on Saturday following the dramatic turn of events in the State and allegations he did not have the authority to submit letters of support from NCP MLAs in support of the BJP. However, the BJP said the election of Jayant Patil replacing Mr. Pawar was unconstitutional since it did not have the approval of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

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10.45 am

 

SC to hear Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress plea at 11.30 am

A political combine of the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena on Saturday moved the Supreme Court urgently in a joint petition against the “illegal usurpation of power” by the BJP in Maharashtra, leading to a “hurried and makeshift” swearing-in ceremony which installed Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister.

Lawyers for the petitioner political parties said the Supreme Court Registry has informed them of a special hearing scheduled for 11.30 a.m. on November 24 (Sunday). The plea will be heard by a bench of justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna. The lawyers had sought a hearing on Saturday night.

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10.30 am

Ajit Pawar returns to his residence

NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who was on Saturday sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, returned to his private residence near Churchgate in Mumbai in the early hours of Sunday, sources said.

He spent Saturday at his brother’s home in Mumbai even as his uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar attended a party meeting where most of the NCP MLAs were present.

Meanwhile, a meeting of BJP legislators is slated in Mumbai on Sunday, a day after Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the Chief Minister again.

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(With inputs from Agencies)

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 11:05:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-politics-live-updates-bjp-ncp-congress-day-2-developments/article30067096.ece

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