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Maharashtra government formation: Under clouds of defection, Maha Vikas Aghadi puts up united front

Senior leaders from every party told their MLAs that the alliance is together and every leader from every party is united

November 25, 2019 / 05:30 PM IST

In a show of unity on November 24, top leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi addressed their own and their allies' legislators to assure them that their alliance will form the government in Maharashtra and that the alliance is here to stay, sources said.

On November 24 afternoon, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray made his way first to Hotel Renaissance, where legislators from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were lodged.

At the meeting, sources said, Thackeray told the legislators that the Maha Vikas Aghadi is not a temporary alliance cobbled up for the sake of power, but a firm set-up that has the numbers and is bound to last.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, sources said, also asked the legislators whether they were under any pressure, to which "five-six" MLAs said that they were, in fact, being contacted by Ajit Pawar and offered portfolios in the government.

"They said that Ajit is telling them that the BJP-NCP government will last and that there is more scope for ministerial berths in a BJP-NCP combine government than in Maha Vikas Aghadi. However, these legislators during the meeting told Pawar that they are with him and the alliance," an NCP legislator who was present at the meeting told Moneycontrol.

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According to reports, Thackeray also had a meeting with Dhananjay Munde, who had reportedly sided with Ajit but had returned to NCP legislative party meeting on the evening of November 23. Speculation was rife that Munde was being sent by Ajit to draw in more MLAs, but the former sought to clear the air by taking to Twitter.

"I am with the party, I am with Pawar Saheb. Please don't spread rumours," Munde wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leaders and state unit chiefs also briefed the party's legislators, lodged in JW Marriott, on November 24. According to sources, the senior leaders told the MLAs that the alliance is together and every leader from every party is united.

"The leaders also told the MLAs that while every attempt will be made to contact them, they should remember the Karnataka example. They would have to face a united alliance during the bypolls," a Congress source said, adding that the party is confident that none of their legislators would jump ship, because the "stakes are too high".

"The idea is to instill confidence and convey the message, that we have the numbers and we will form the government," the source said.

Earlier on November 25, the three parties along with other smaller partners handed over a letter to the Raj Bhavan, saying it has the majority whereas the recently sworn in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis "does not have the required numbers".

The letter was signed by Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, NCP state chief Jayant Patil and Congress Maharashtra unit head Balasaheb Thorat.

On November 24, The Supreme Court of India (SC) had asked the Centre to produce before it Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s order, inviting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form the government in the state, and the legislators’ letter of support, by 10:30 am on November 25.

The apex court on November 25 reserved its order, to be pronounced tomorrow.
Atharva Pandit
first published: Nov 25, 2019 05:30 pm

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