Senior Congress leader and advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi seem to have inadvertently disclosed the total number of NCP MLAs who are supporting Ajit Pawar in forming the government with the BJP in Maharashtra.
The Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress party filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the Governor’s decision to permit Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar to be sworn in as Chief Minister and Deputy CM respectively. It was also demanded that the Supreme Court order the floor test to be conducted today.
According to ANI, during the hearing, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the NCP, appears to have unwittingly made public the number of its MLAs who are supporting Ajit Pawar on the matter. He said, “How come Ajit Pawar becomes the Deputy CM with the support of only around 42-43 seats? It is the murder of democracy.”
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for NCP and Congress, says in Supreme Court, “How come Ajit Pawar becomes the Deputy CM with the support of only around 42-43 seats? It is the murder of democracy.” #Maharashtra
— ANI (@ANI) November 24, 2019
However, other platforms that were tweeting about the proceedings had a completely different take on what Singhvi said.
According to Bar and Bench, Singhvi said that 41 MLAs have signed the letter removing Ajit Pawar from his post. According to the Bar and Bench, Singhvi said: “How can Ajit Pawar be Deputy CM when 41 NCP MLAs have said that ‘we are with NCP and we don’t recognise him as NCP leader anymore'”.
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) November 24, 2019
Hence, if we go by ANI’s version, it would appear that Singhvi slipped up and declared that 42-43 MLAs are supporting Ajit Pawar. However, if we go by Bar and Bench, the story is completely different.
It is, however, still telling, even if we go by Bar and Bench version. Several media houses had constantly reported yesterday that out of 56, over 50 MLAs had attended the meeting summoned by Sharad Pawar. However, if we go by Bar and Bench version of what Singhvi said, it would appear that 15 MLAs were not even present at the meeting and we can safely assume that these 15 are supporting Ajit Pawar.
Interestingly, on Saturday, it was claimed by the NCP that Ajit Pawar had been removed as the CLP of the party and he was replaced by Jayant Patil. However, there appears to be some confusion regarding the matter since it is being claimed that Sharad Pawar did not have the requisite numbers to removed Ajit Pawar as the CLP. BJP’s Ashish Sehlar has called Jayant Patil’s appointment as invalid.
Under such circumstances, the alliance of convenience between the three parties appears to be on thin ice. However, it remains to be seen how things pan out in the coming days.
Note: This story has been updated with additional information