MUMBAI: In an unprecedented action, the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance on Monday organised a show of strength of their 162 supporting MLAs in a bid to disprove the claims of 170 legislators made by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally Ajit Pawar.
All 162 MLAs from the surprising three-party alliance took an oath claiming that they would not behave in a way that would be harmful to their parties.
At the Grand Hyatt hotel, besides the MLAs from the three parties, senior leaders from the alliance were also present.
Sharad Pawar, Supriya Sule, Praful Patel, Jayant Patil, Nawab Malik, Jitendra Awhad (all NCP), Uddhav Thackeray, Aditya Thackeray, Eknath Shinde, and Sanjay Raut (all Shiv Sena), Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan, Balasaheb Thorat and Mallikarjuna Kharge (Congress) and others were present.
Several leaders addressed the gathering against a backdrop of large hoardings proclaiming ‘We Are 162’ in different corners of the hall.
Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray assured all MLAs not to worry about the assembly session. The senior Pawar said that no MLA should have to be scared about their MLAship. “Some people are creating panic by spreading false news and stating wrong proceedings of the assembly. Don’t worry that you will be disqualified,” Pawar said.
“In many states, the BJP has governments though it is not in a majority. The Centre is misusing its powers to grab power everywhere and Constitutional norms are being violated... But this is not Goa or Manipur, this is Maharashtra,” Sharad Pawar said.
He reiterated that his rebel nephew Ajit Pawar had ‘no powers or authority’ to ally in the name of NCP with the BJP and urged the gathering to preserve the unity seen on Monday
Our bonds becoming stronger: Uddhav
Uddhav Thackeray said that the base of the alliance of the three parties is widening. “Due to the political happenings in the State, the bonds are becoming much stronger among us,” said Thackeray.
Thackeray warned that those who attempt to create obstacles in the way of the unity of the three parties would be taught a severe lesson.
Patil and Thorat said that the three parties have already submitted a letter to the governor earlier on Monday staking claim to form the government based on its support of at least 162 legislators. “The people of the state don’t support this government which took birth at the dead of the night. They (Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar) have lost public sympathy. All legislators will vote against the government and it will topple. Later, our government will come to power,” Patil said.
Later, the legislators and leaders took a solemn oath in the name of the Constitution, to remain united against all adversities within the law, not to do anything that would damage the Maha Vikas Aghadi, to ensure that the BJP-led government is defeated on the floor of the assembly among other points.
This show of strength, including a joint photo session, comes a day after the top leaders of the three parties addressed ‘cross-meetings’ of the legislators of each other’s parties, again a unique development in politics.
Earlier, the parties had taken all precautions with their valuable legislators, taking their sworn affidavits of support, their names/signatures/identity papers/etc, to ensure that nobody revolts later. The trend setting development was covered by the media in full strength, and each person was permitted inside the hall only after proper scrutiny amid tight police security inside and outside the hotel. After identification of each MLA, they were asked to go to the hotel where their party has made arrangements for them.