Maharashtra: Both sides claim majority amid high drama

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is in constant touch with his deputy,  so that he does not returns to his nephew.

Amid a fluid political situation in Maharashtra and Supreme Court hearing,  both sides -  the BJP-led group and the rival Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance -  on Sunday claimed majority MLAs with them. 

The political seesaw, that is changing by the hour,  has left the battle of numbers open-ended,  and it could be anybody's game during the floor test.

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had made hectic efforts to convince his rebel nephew Ajit Pawar to come back to the party fold, however, could not succeed.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is in constant touch with his deputy,  so that he does not return to his uncle.

While the BJP-Ajit Pawar grouping claimed support of 170 plus MLAs,  the Sena-NCP-Congress claimed 165 plus legislators with them.

In the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly,  the magic figure is 145. 

While the Congress MLAs are in JW Marriot in Juhu,  the Shiv Sena MLAs are closeted at Hotel Lalit at Andheri. The NCP MLAs are in the Renaissance Hotel in Powai and there are plans to move them to Thane. The BJP legislators are scattered in various Mumbai hotels.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's aide Sanjay Raut said that they would be able to prove majority in flat 10 minutes.

"The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have 165 MLAs. If the governor calls for an identification parade, in 10 minutes flat we would be able to prove majority...write this down," he said.

“We have said from the beginning that we have 170 MLAs support… Now, with five MLAs missing, we have the support for 165 legislators in our camp," Raut said.

Senior NCP leader and former speaker Dilip Walse-Patil and state NCP president and new legislature party leader Jayant Patil met Ajit to convince him and resign as deputy CM.

He said that 23 November is a "black day"  and the BJP has no right to call Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi as a "black day".

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Ashish Shelar said that Fadnavis government has the support of 170 MLAs and it will be able to prove majority.

Rejecting that the Sena charge that governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari conducted the swearing-in hush-hush manner in the cover of darkness,  Shelar said that what was done in darkness is meeting Congress leader Ahmed Patel in a car with black-tainted glass.

Meanwhile, Congress leader and former CM Ashok Chavan said that his MLAs are intact. "All our 44 MLAs are intact," he said.

Patil submitted a signed list of legislators who attended Saturday's meeting. "We have 49 to 50 MLAs with us,' former deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal said.

NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said that 50 MLAs have endorsed leadership of Pawar.

Uddhav has asked the MLAs of all parties to exercise caution. 

As a confidence-building measure,  he along son Aaditya joined Pawar and Supriya Sule, addressed NCP legislators. "We will prove majority in the floor of the House, rest assured," Malik added. 

"The BJP will not succeed," said senior Congressman Vijay Wadettiwar, a former leader of opposition.

In a related development,  the BJP legislature party met at its Dadar office and passed a unanimous resolution congratulating Fadnavis and Pawar. "The government will complete full five year term," Shelar added.

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