'Will meet Guv to present our side on govt formation'

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut. (DH Photo)

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said his party and the NCP and Congress have the required numbers and they will meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday to present their side for government formation in Maharashtra.

Addressing reporters here, Raut said the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have signatures of all their respective MLAs to prove majority in the House, which the combine will submit to the Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Court is the only institution where we still have some faith left," he said.

In a dramatic turn of events, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and NCP's Ajit Pawar were sworn in as chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at 8 am on Saturday at a hush hush ceremony in Raj Bhavan here, leading to the lifting of the President's rule in the state.

The BJP was propped up by Ajit Pawar who revolted against the NCP headed by his uncle Sharad Pawar.

The Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP subsequently filed a plea against Koshiyari's decision to swear Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar.

Raut alleged that the BJP acted like "dacoits of Chambal" to form government in the state "without having majority".

"Leaders of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress will meet the governor today to present our side for government formation. The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress will have at least 10 MLAs more than the BJP when the floor test will be done in the Assembly," the Rajya Sabha member said.

After the BJP made a comeback to power in Maharashtra on Saturday with the help of Ajit Pawar and NCP's unspecified number of MLAs, some legislators of the Sharad Pawar-led party went 'missing'.

Raut alleged that four MLAs of NCP were "detained by either the BJP or Haryana Police" as the party is in power in that state.

"They can stoop to any level to gain political power," he said, claiming that Sena workers "rescued" four NCP MLAs from a hotel at Gurugram in Haryana.

The BJP and the Sena, which fought the last month's Assembly polls in an alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively.

The Sena, however, broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister's post.

The NCP and Congress won 54 and 44 seats respectively.

"The BJP leaders will go crazy if they are thrown out of power. They will lose their mental balance, as we are going to prove our majority during the floor test," Raut claimed.

"Once we form government, we will build a special hospital to treat the mental illness of BJP leaders," he quipped.

Raut said he has heard the BJP is ready to share the chief minister's post with Ajit Pawar for 2.5 years. "They were not ready to do the same with us. We will outsmart the BJP when it comes to prove the majority," he said.

He also cited the example of state's first chief minister and Congress leader Yashwantrao Chavan who had refused to stake claim for government formation despite an invitation from the then governor.

Raut said Chavan had asserted that since his was not the single largest party in the House, he refused the offer.

Asked about reasons behind NCP leaders trying to convince Ajit Pawar to come back to the party fold even as he has been removed as leader of the NCP's legislature wing, Raut said, "Nobody wants a split in family over politics."

"Even I had visited MNS chief Raj Thackeray (cousin of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray) when he defected from the Shiv Sena," he said.

Ajit Pawar may have taken the step (to support the BJP) emotionally, which his party leaders want to correct, the Sena leader said. 

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