Maharashtra: Parties test their strength in hotel lobbies | Mumbai News

MUMBAI: Seeking to clear the air of any uncertainty around his party’s stand on government formation, NCP president Sharad Pawar spent all of Sunday with his own MLAs as well as Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

Talks with Thackeray were intended to signal Pawar’s intent to stay aligned to the plan for a tripartite alliance with Congress and Shiv Sena, said sources. But the fear of poaching loomed large—NCP legislators were moved from Hotel Renaissa-nce in Powai to Grand Hyatt in Santacruz late at night.

Efforts to persuade Ajit Pawar to return to the NCP fold continued on Sunday as state NCP president Jayant Patil and party leader Dilip Walse Patil had a marathon meeting with the deputy chief minister at the latter’s south Mumbai residence. But he did not yield, said sources. Earlier on Saturday, NCP leaders Sunil Tatkare and Hasan Mushriff had visited him.

Earlier in the day,

Jayant Patil visited Raj Bhavan

to submit a letter stating that following the meeting of the NCP legislature party on Saturday, Ajit Pawar has been sacked and now Patil has been given the additional charge of NCP’s legislative leader. Patil’s letter was later submitted before the Supreme Court, which was hearing the petition against the governor’s decision. As a result of Patil’s appointment, Ajit Pawar will not be able to issue a whip during the speaker’s election or during the vote of confidence.

However,

Ajit Pawar tweeted

that he was still with the NCP, Sharad Pawar was his leader and that the BJP-NCP would provide a stable government.
Reacting sharply to this tweet, Sharad Pawar said the statement was false and misleading and intended to create confusion and a false perception. “There is no question of forming an alliance with BJP. NCP has unanimously decided to ally with Shiv Sena and Congress to form the government,’’ Pawar tweeted.
To appease their legislators, Pawar and Thackeray held joint and separate meetings with them. Pawar had a prolonged interaction with NCP legislators at Renaissance Hotel, while Thackeray interacted with Sena and Congress legislators put up in The Lalit and J W Marriot hotel respectively. In addition, Dhananjay Munde, a trusted aide of Ajit Pawar, had a joint meeting with Pawar and Thackeray.
During their interactions with Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena MLAs, both Pawar and Thackeray expressed confidence that the newly elected Fadnavis government would be defeated on the floor of the House. “Do not worry, we, Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena are together. Soon, we will have a joint meeting to work out an action plan,’’ they said.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik demanded that Fadnavis quit the CM’s post to avoid embarrassment as his government does not have a majority. “Ajit Pawar had claimed the support of all 54 NCP legislators at his swearing-in ceremony, but there were 11 with him,” Malik told TOI. “Today, our claim is that barring Ajit Pawar, all are with us. In fact, barring the 11, none had quit NCP and 10 are back to the NCP fold. Under such circumstances, we are sure BJP will lose during the voting for speaker’s post. To avoid the embarrassing situation, Fadnavis must quit on his own.’’

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