Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who has become the face of his party’s rebellion against the BJP ever since the partners for over three decades broke up over power sharing, has alleged that Nationalist Congress Party’s Ajit Pawar was “blackmailed” into joining hands with the BJP.
In an unexpected development early this morning, Devendra Fadnavis took oath as the chief minister and Ajit Pawar as his deputy at Raj Bhawan in Mumbai. The second-time chief minister of Maharashtra, Fadnavis condemned the Sena of insulting the people’s mandate and thanked Ajit Pawar for offering support to form government.
After accusing Ajit Pawar of “stabbing in the back”, Raut is hopeful of his return to the NCP.
“NCP leader Dhananjay Munde has been contacted. Ajit Pawar may also return (to NCP fold). We have information how Ajit Pawar has been blackmailed and will expose this soon,” Mr Raut told reporters.
Munde, who is said to have been in touch with Fadnavis since the last few days, had gone incommunicado. He is said to be supporting Ajit Pawar. Munde was elected from Parli where he defeated his cousin and BJP leader Pankaja Munde.
“The new government was formed at 7 in the morning. In the cover of darkness only sins are committed,” Raut said.
At a joint press meet with the Shiv Sena this afternoon, NCP chief Sharad Pawar also said that some MLAs of his party were tricked into attending the early morning oath ceremony.
Meanwhile, both the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s party have said that they will defeat the BJP in a trust vote and form the government with the Shiv Sena.
The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party with 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, had told the Governor last week that it did not have the numbers and said Shiv Sena can go ahead and form the government.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena grew apart over the Sena’s demand of rotational chief ministership and an equal share in ministries.
The Sena, with 56 MLAs, turned to the NCP, which has 54, and Congress, 44, for support. But before the new alliance could make an official announcement, the BJP pulled off a coup.