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Will NCP support BJP govt in Maharashtra if Shiv Sena quits?

mumbai Updated: Feb 13, 2017 14:47 IST
Faisal Malik
BMC polls

If Sena quits, the BJP government will then fall short of 24 seats, as it need 145 seats to prove majority in the 288-member assembly. (HT file)

With Shiv Sena threatening to pull out from the Maharashtra government, question doing rounds in the political circles is: will Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to save the government?

In the run up to the BMC polls, BJP and Sena are leaving no stone unturned to portray the other in bad light . Going a step ahead, Sena leaders have now hinted at quitting the state government, sparking speculations that the party may withdraw support to the BJP-led state government after the civic elections.

The events have also brought the NCP in focus, as the party had given unconditional support to the Fadnavis government in 2014 after the assembly elections. Sources said the NCP leadership is in no hurry and will wait and see the outcome of local polls in Maharashtra and assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh to see which way the wind blows.

A section in the NCP believes that the party may support the BJP government, but this time it will have conditions. Sources said this will give the party an opportunity to bail out its leaders facing inquiries for alleged scams. However, they are not sure if chief minister Fadnavis will agree to their demands.

While another section in the party said they are ready to face mid-term elections. “The party is in the position to go for mid-term assembly elections. NCP would like to take Congress along to kick out BJP government from the state,” said a senior party functionary.

The BJP and the Sena have 121 and 63 MLAs, respectively, and their alliance enjoys a comfortable majority in the 288-member assembly. However, if Sena quits, the Fadnavis government will then fall short of 24 seats as it need 145 seats to prove majority.

Commenting on the issue, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said they will neither support BJP nor Shiv Sena. “NCP is ready to go for mid-term polls if Sena pulls out from the state government,” he said. But added that Sena will not dare to take such a drastic step. “The party has no guts to pull out from the government,” Malik said.

Also read: Sena not quitting Maharashtra govt as it enjoys warmth of power: Sharad Pawar