Ajit Pawar, the nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, joined the BJP on Sunday and brought 8 MLAs with him, bringing the party’s total representation in the Assembly down from 53 to 44. There are 45 members of Congress. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) split, and the Congress is now the party with the majority of MLAs on the Maharashtra opposition benches.
Balasaheb Thorat, the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), told ThePrint that they should now hold the position of Leader of the Opposition. “The LoP position goes to the party that has the highest number of MLAs and so the Leader of Opposition should be from us,” Thorat mentioned. After Ajit Pawar, the NCP’s previous leader of opposition, joined the BJP-Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde) cabinet on Sunday, Thorat made this statement. The NCP then named Jitendra Awhad as the new leader of opposition. The nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar left with eight additional MLAs, bringing the party’s total representation in the Assembly down from 53 to 44. Congress has 45 members.
During an event on Monday in Satara’s Karad, Sharad Pawar complied with the Congress’s request. He assured his supporters that the Congress had a legitimate claim to the LoP’s position. Following the divisions within its Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) supporters, the Congress now perceives itself to be in a favourable position. “Our position instead of theirs is now stronger in the MVA,” party sources told ThePrint. “Yes, it is an advantage for us… so there is no question of any bargaining. We will get what is rightfully ours,” Thorat stated.
The party head angrily refuted speculations that certain Congressmen could defect from the group as well. “Our MLAs are all together. We were 44 earlier, now we are 45. Our efforts will be to work for the MVA… the Congress itself will perform well in the state,” he told ThePrint. The first chief minister of Maharashtra, Yashwantrao Chavan, is memorialised in Karad. On Monday morning, Sharad Pawar paid a visit to the place. He was accompanied by Prithviraj Chavan, the head of the Congress, in order to emphasise the fact that the NCP and Congress were working together.