Hours after BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and NCP leader Ajit Pawar took oath as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Congress leader Ahmed Patel Saturday said the coalition of Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena will fight — on the political and legal front — to prove their majority on the floor of the Assembly.
“Today was a black spot in the history of Maharashtra. Everything was done in a hushed manner and early morning. Something is wrong somewhere. Nothing can be more shameful than this,” Patel said while addressing the media, along with party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, K C Venugopal and others, in Mumbai.
“We all are committed to this. There is no question of backing. We will work together, fight the battle on the political and legal front, and prove our majority,” he added.
When asked why the leaders were absent in the press conference held with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray, Patel said they were informed about it late.
“All our MLAs are with us. We are confident that none of them will defect,” he said.
On accusations that the developments took place due to delayed coalition talks, Patel said, “We did not delay anything. We were given time and we were moving democratically. There are certain formalities which need to be completed. We were just acting on them. It wasn’t delayed from our side at all.”
He added that the meeting between NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, which took place on Friday night, went smoothly and they had almost decided on who will be the leader.
“We had a very fruitful meeting yesterday with Sharad Pawar ji. We were to meet at 12 pm or 12.30 pm today. But then, this happened. We strongly condemn it,” Patel added.
Following the press conference in Mumbai, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala addressed the media in Delhi and said BJP was “acting as a contract killer for democracy”. “It has become a new norm to trample the trust of the people as also seen in the Karnataka elections. Devendra Fadnavis promised to put Ajit Pawar in jail but has made him deputy CM now,” Surjewala said and took a dig at the Governor, stating that he was failing in his duty to guard the constitution.
Hardly an hour before the Congress’ presser, Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray had spoken to the media. They vowed disciplinary action against Ajit Pawar, and reiterated that his decision to join the BJP was against the party’s line.
“Ajit Pawar’s decision is against the party line and is indiscipline. No NCP leader or worker is in favour of an NCP-BJP government. I’m sure the Governor has given them time to prove majority but they won’t be able to. Our three parties will form the government as we had decided earlier,” Pawar had said.
Pawar also warned NCP MLAs who chose to move ahead with Ajit’s decision. “All the MLAs who are going must know that there is an anti detection law and the possibility of them losing their assembly membership is high,” he said.