NCP, Cong tussle for opposition leader's post seems certain

NCP, Cong tussle for opposition leader's post seems certain

With Shiv Sena deciding to join the BJP government in Maharashtra, NCP and Congress today rubbished each other's claim for the post of leader of opposition in the Legislative Assembly. The post is currently held by Sena's Eknath Shinde.

NCP chief Sunil Tatkare today said that his party would claim the post. On account of the pre-poll alliance with Bahujan Vikas Agadhi which won three seats and independent legislator from Badnera Ravi Rana, NCP's strength in the Assembly is 45, he said.

Congress has 42 MLAs while NCP, singly, 41. In the Legislative Council, NCP is the largest party with 28 seats.

"There is a precedent in the Lok Sabha where Congress took our letter of support to claim leader of opposition's post. So we can also try," Tatkare said.

However, state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre called this comparison "laughable". Tatkare rejected the charge that Sena joining the government was a loss of face for NCP which extended outside support to BJP immediately after the poll results.

"Our stand was always clear. We were nowhere near (forming) the government and were opposition party. We extended outside support for stability. Now that the government looks stable, we will perform the role of opposition," he said.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said NCP's claim for leader of opposition's post was not based on facts and ethics. "Our claim is strong," he said.

To a question whether NCP will take the lead to ensure opposition unity, Tatkare said streamlining the opposition will take time as the main opposition party (Shiv Sena) had just joined the government.

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