Updated: Thu, 23 Jun 2022 08:28 PM IST
The only way to prove if Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is in minority is through floor test in the state legislative assembly, said Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday evening.
Speaking to reporters, the NCP supremo also said that the rebel Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde, who are currently in Assam's Guwahati, would also need to return to Mumbai and present themselves in the Vidhan Bhawan.
He also said that the MVA will back Thackeray, adding that the situation will change after the rebel leaders' return.
"We have seen such situations in Maharashtra several times. With my experience, I can say that we will defeat this crisis, and the government under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray will run smoothly," Pawar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"Maharashtra government is in minority or not has to be established in Vidhan Sabha. When procedures will be followed, then it will be proved that this government is in majority," he added.
Pawar's statement, however, is contrary to what the MVA leaders, who have said that a floor test is not needed as the Thackeray government still has the majority. It should be noted that the rebel camp has claimed the support of the 42 MLAs - 35 from Sena and seven independents - which is enough to topple the MVA government.
Meanwhile, Pawar's statement comes hours after Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said the party is ready to consider leaving the MVA alliance, urging the rebels to return to Mumbai within the next 24 hours.
"Why wander aimlessly. The doors are open and issues can be resolved amicably through talks. Let's take a decision with self-respect instead of accepting slavery," Raut had said.
Although Raut's statement didn't go well with the NCP and Congress, the two parties have decided to support the Thackeray government while blaming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly toppling the MVA.
"We will do all we can to save the alliance government," said Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, as reported by news agency PTI. "I spoke to Uddhav Thackeray over the phone (about the political crisis)."