“When the MLAs return they will narrate the reality of how they were taken. When they come here and clarify that they are with the Shiv Sena, the majority of the MVA will be proved,’ Pawar said after a meeting of NCP legislators in Mumbai on Thursday.
Pawar said the rebel MLAs needed to first return to Maharashtra to challenge the majority of the government.
“Whether this government is in a minority or not will be tested on the floor of the Assembly. When the test happens it will be proved that the MVA has the majority. We have faced such situations in the past as well. We will prove the majority under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray and this government will survive,” he said.
Pawar also hinted that Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s overture to the rebel MLAs saying the party could contemplate leaving the alliance was an internal matter of that party. “Those who left their leaders are saying that they are angry about the Shiv Sena having formed an alliance with Congress and the NCP. Sanjay Raut has said that if that is what is troubling them, their opinion can be considered but they need to say that here in Maharashtra and not speak while sitting in Assam. That is all that he has said.” he said.
While reacting to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s statement that prima facie, the BJP does not seem to be involved in facilitating the rebellion, Pawar took a swipe at his nephew. “Ajit Pawar may have said what he said looking at the situation in the state. Eknath Shinde’s hand was visible here in the state as MLAs disappeared. While Ajit may know what is happening in the state, I know better as to what is happening in Gujarat and Assam,” Pawar said.
“I came across an interview with Ekanth Shinde where he has said that a national party is willing to extend support to him. Let me read out the names of national parties in India as listed by the ECI. They are the BJP, BSP, CPI, CPM, TMC and the NCP. Do you think any of these parties other than the BJP would support this rebellion,” he said, adding that Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil was involved in making arrangements for the rebels’ stay in Surat while the same was done by the Assam government in Gauhati.
Pawar also said the rebel MLAs needed to come to Maharashtra to achieve their goals. “They will need to come here in front of the governor or on the premises of the Vidhan Bhavan. Leaders from Assam and Gujarat will not be around to address them,” he said.
On the rebel MLAs grouse that they were not getting adequate development funds because of the NCP, Pawar said they were trying to save their skin in front of their voters.
“These are false statements. The decision these people have taken is a violation of the anti-defection law and the repercussions will be seen in their constituencies. We had a similar revolt done by Chhagan Bhujbal in which over a dozen people were involved. Only one of them got re-elected in the next elections. These people may also face the same consequences and are raising these issues of funds to save themselves,” he said.
Pawar further said that some of the rebel MLAs were being investigated by central agencies and the fear of these agencies could have had a bearing on the steps that they took.