The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said that they have moved a disqualification petition to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar against the nine MLAs who were sworn in as ministers in the Shinde-Fadnavis government on July 2.
“We have submitted a disqualification petition to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar against nine MLAs who were sworn in as ministers in the Shinde-Fadnavis government on Sunday. Despite my repeated calls, Mr. Narwekar did not respond, so I sent him a text message asking him to check his WhatsApp and email where we have sent the petition. Tonight, LoP Jitendra Awhad will make an attempt to meet the Speaker personally,” NCP State chief Jayant Patil said during a late-night joint press conference with MP Supriya Sule and Leader of the Opposition Jitendra Awhad.
The NCP has also written to the Election Commission of India. “The nine legislators have engaged in anti-party activities, and the moment they took the oath, they stand disqualified,” Mr. Patil added.
Mr. Patil said that MLAs from the rival Ajit Pawar camp are in contact with the party chief Sharad Pawar and himself, and they express their discontent with today’s events. “They are in touch with us and will return soon. First, they should visit their respective constituencies and have discussions with the voters regarding their decision to leave Mr. Sharad Pawar before making any further decisions. We have take action against only nine MLAs who took oath today, and so far nothing against the other MLAs,” he said.
Mr. Patil stated that the rank and file of NCP, along with supporters in Maharashtra, have been standing with Mr. Sharad Pawar not only at present but for many years. “People will not accept their decision to switch loyalty to the other side, so they have to return, and they will return,” he added.
“Unlike the rebel MLAs from Shiv Sena (last year’s rebellion by Eknath Shinde), our MLAs’ betrayal has not been ‘confirmed’ as they are still in touch with us. Therefore, for now, we do not want to take any action or comment on them,” the Maharashtra NCP chief said.
Developments in NCP won’t impact Oppn unity: Supriya Sule
NCP’s working president and Ajit Pawar’s cousin Supriya Sule earlier said the developments in the party will not impact the Opposition’s unity.
Ms. Sule said her father and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s stature will rise further. “Our credibility will only rise after this,” she said.
She also said that Ajit Pawar may have different views, but she can never fight with her elder brother and that she will always love him as a sister. “I can never have a fight with my brother,” she said.
“Ajit Pawar doesn’t have the support of 36 MLAs”
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said Ajit Pawar doesn't have the support of 36 MLAs as being claimed.
NCP national spokesperson Clyde Crasto also claimed that the party working president Supriya Sule and state unit chief Jayant Patil are contacting all the 53 MLAs and the picture will become clearer by Monday.
The NCP has 53 MLAs in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly and Ajit Pawar needs the support of at least 36 legislators to not attract the provisions of anti-defection law.
"Ajit Pawar doesn't have the support of 36 MLAs as being claimed," claimed Crasto.
Ajit Pawar took oath as Deputy CM in the Shiv Sena-BJP government on Sunday afternoon, while eight other MLAs of NCP were sworn in as ministers.
In the evening, sources cited a letter submitted to Raj Bhavan to claim that Ajit Pawar enjoys the support of more than 40 MLAs and over six of nine MLCs of his party.
"Ajit Pawar has the support of more than 40 MLAs and more than six MLCs. A letter of support of these legislators was given to Raj Bhavan," a source had told PTI.
Addressing reporters after taking oath as deputy CM, Ajit Pawar had maintained that there was no split in the NCP and that they would contest all future elections on the NCP's name and symbol.
"All the elected representatives (of the party) have supported the decision to join the government," he had claimed.
Ajit Pawar's uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar had said some people whose names are on the list (of BJP) had called him to inform they were invited (to Mumbai) and their signatures were taken.
"They said their stand as (MLAS) of NCP is different," he added.
(with inputs from PTI)