Maharashtra politics likely to take turn; 40 NCP leaders back Ajit Pawar's bid to tie up with BJP, states report

Maharashtra politics likely to take turn; 40 NCP leaders back Ajit Pawar's bid to tie up with BJP, states report

NCP insider were quoted in a report saying about 40 of the party's 53 MLAs have given their consent signatures to support Ajit Pawar's bid. The list of signatures is expected to be presented to the governor at the appropriate time.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, April 18, 2023, 10:09 PM IST

Ajit Pawar, leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), is reportedly gaining momentum in his efforts to become the next chief minister of Maharashtra in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

A report in The New Indian Express quoted their sources within the NCP, about 40 of the party's 53 MLAs have given their consent signatures to support Pawar's bid. The list of signatures is expected to be presented to the governor at the appropriate time.

Possible disqualification of Sena lawmakers spurs Pawar's bid

Pawar's bid for the chief minister post follows reports that the Supreme Court may disqualify lawmakers from the Shiv Sena who have rebelled against the current chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray. This development would create a power vacuum, which Pawar is keen to fill with the BJP's support.

Silence from NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar raises questions

While Pawar's bid is gaining momentum, it is intriguing that the NCP's patriarch, Sharad Pawar, has remained silent. In 2019, when Ajit Pawar bolted, Sharad Pawar had called up all NCP lawmakers to keep the party intact. However, this time around, he has not made any counter move. According to sources, Ajit Pawar is personally calling up NCP MLAs to seek their signatures, but Sharad Pawar has not yet intervened.

Hope for a last-minute intervention

Sources within the NCP are keeping their fingers crossed that Sharad Pawar will make a last-minute intervention that could tilt the scales in favor of another candidate. However, Ajit Pawar is not leaving anything to chance and has been in discussions with his close confidants in Mumbai.

Green light from Modi and Shah could determine outcome

According to independent MLA Ravi Rana, who is close to Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the turning point will come once Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah give their green light. The BJP is weighing its options regarding the timing of Eknath Shinde's exit, either before or after the Supreme Court's verdict or before the Karnataka elections.

Timing is crucial

Legal experts, according to TNIE report, have advised the BJP that the change of leadership should happen before the Supreme Court's verdict. The logic behind this is that if Ajit Pawar is sworn in before the judgment, the new government would not fall and would not damage the BJP's prospects. Sources within the BJP suggest that a final decision is yet to be made.

Seniors within NCP backing Ajit Pawar's coup

It is also worth noting that many senior NCP MLAs, who are seen as close to Sharad Pawar, are reportedly supporting Ajit Pawar's coup. This development suggests that there may be a split within the NCP's top ranks.

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