Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on March 13 said there is no "Jyotiraditya Scindia-like" figure in ranks of ruling allies in the state and asked the BJP to keep a watch on its MLAs who were not present on the assembly.
In his reply to budget demands, Pawar, who holds the finance portfolio, also commented on BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar's startling revelation in the house on March 12 it was his party that ditched the one-time ally Shiv Sena last year and that it was a mistake.
"There is no pardon for the mistake," Pawar said, looking in the direction of Chief Minister and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray leading to laughter in the house.
The Shiv Sena and the BJP parted waysafter the assembly elections last year due to differences over power- sharing. The Sena later joined hands with the Congress and the NCP, its political rivals then, to form government.
Pawar saidthere is no "Jyotiraditya Scindia-like figure" in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), the ruling alliance consisting of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress, and asked the BJP to look after its own flock as there could be such a person in its own ranks.
Scindia, a long-time Congress leader and former Union minister, quit the party and joined the BJP on March 12.
"You better keep a watch on those who were not present now (in the assembly)," the NCP leader told the opposition.
Mungantiwar, speaking in the assembly on March 12, said the BJP had ditched the Sena and asked the Congress-NCP not to take advantage of that mistake, which he said, will be rectified one day.
The BJP legislator and former minister, addressing Congress and NCP MLAs, also said just like in Madhya Pradesh, there will be a Scindia in Maharashtra too.
Pawar took a dig at Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavisand other BJP leaders fordoubting the longevity of the MVA government, which assumed office in November-end last year.
"You have to do this to keep your flock together," he said.
Mungantiwar, speaking after Pawar, said the "BJP ditching the Sena" comment was made in a sarcastic tone, but the NCP minister used it to suit his politics.
Opposition members later staged a walkout from the assembly in protest against Pawar's reply.
In the wake of the coronavirus threat, Pawar asked legislators to take care of themselves while going out to meet people in their constituencies.
"In Iran, four MPs have died due to the coronavirus. We are people's representativesand cannot keep people away from us. But you all should take care.
"Legislators should contact the Mantralaya control room if there is a need," Pawar said.
The budget session of the state legislature is being curtailed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. It will conclude on March 14 instead of the originally scheduled date of March 20.