NCP Claims All MLAs Except Ajit Pawar Back in Fold as Parties Make Last-ditch Effort to Keep Flock United
NCP leaders Daulat Daroda (fifth from left) and Anil Patil (seventh from left) on their way to Mumbai from Gurugram.
Mumbai: Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on a petition filed by the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena combine, the Sharad Pawar-led party claimed that all its MLAs except Ajit Pawar — who was sworn-in as the deputy to Maharashtra Chief Minister — are back in the party fold.
NCP’s Daulat Daroda and Anil Patil were the latest MLAs to be traced to a hotel in Gurugram from where they were brought to Mumbai by the cadre. With this, the NCP claims it has the support of 52 MLAs. The exceptions to this are Ajit Pawar and Anna Bansode, who the NCP claims is in Pune and in touch with the party and is set to return soon.
The party had filed a missing complaint against Daroda as he was untraceable after reaching Raj Bhavan in south Mumbai on Saturday morning when Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar took oath. Daroda had left his constituency, in neighbouring Thane, along with his son Karan on Friday night and was unreachable after reaching Mumbai, said an official.
On Sunday, Daroda finally surfaced and offered his support to Sharad Pawar. He added that there was "no question" of him leaving the NCP and he would follow any decision taken by the party leadership, news agency ANI reported.
"I'm safe. I've come after winning election on the clock symbol (NCP), so there's no question of changing the party. Whatever decision Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar take, I'm with that. Don't believe in any rumours," he said.
The NCP was stung by the shock decision of Ajit Pawar — Sharad Pawar’s nephew — to join hands with the BJP in a midnight coup, which saw him being crowned the deputy chief minister. The move came close on the heels of the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena deciding to field Uddhav Thackeray as the chief ministerial face.
The parties then knocked the doors of the Supreme Court seeking an immediate floor test. However, a three-judge bench asked the Centre to produce two letters — one from Governor BS Koshyari inviting Fadnavis to form the government and another by Fadnavis claiming majority — by 10.30am on Monday.