‘If government goes…’: NCP’s Jayant Patil lays out party’s plan amid Maharashtra crisis
- The Maharashtra government is at the risk of falling
- Eknath Shinde, rebel Shiv Sena MLA, seems to have engineered the fall
- NCP says its prepared to sit in Opposition if government falls
With the Maharashtra government at risk of falling, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), one of the alliance partners in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) along with the Shiv Sena and Congress, is deliberating its political positioning. Eknath Shinde, the rebel Shiv Sena MLA, is reported to have received support from 36 out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs. As such, the fall of the Maharashtra government seems only a matter of time.
Reacting to the Maharashtra crisis, NCP leader Jayant Patil said, “If government stays, we will be in power, if government goes, we will sit in Opposition.” The NCP leader’s comment, reported by news agency ANI, situates the Sharad Pawar-led party in clear opposition to the BJP. Media reports claim Eknath Shinde doesn’t seek to break away from the Shiv Sena but wants Bal Thackeray’s party to run the government with BJP on the ‘Hindutva’ agenda.
Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs in the Maharashtra Assembly after the death of one of its members. The NCP has 53 and the Congress 44. All these come to 152 seats. If Shinde has to pull off a coup, he needs 37 MLAs to come with him and support the BJP. The BJP has 106 seats in the Assembly, 37 less than the majority mark.
The NCP leader’s comments are important because many of the Shiv Sena MLA’s have expressed their grievances against the NCP. Some Shiv Sena leaders feel that the NCP has become too dominant in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Further, in rural parts of Maharashtra, where the BJP is a minor presence, the electoral contest is largely between Shiv Sena and NCP. As such, a dominant NCP is said to have eaten into Shiv Sena’s support base.
Uddhav Thackeray and those on his side seem to be preparing for the government to fall. Bal Thackeray’s son left the chief minister’s residence on Wednesday and moved to ‘Matoshri’— the Thackeray’s family home. Uddhav was the only Thackeray to ever take a government post.