Amidst the ongoing power tussle between the pre-poll alliance partners Shiv Sena and the BJP over the government formation in Maharashtra, the Congress party, on the other hand, is reportedly contemplating over moving its MLAs to Jaipur, in order to avoid ‘poaching’ of its MLAs from the BJP.
According to a Hindustan Times report, some of the 44 MLAs have already reached Jaipur and others will soon join them. Rajasthan has a Congress government and the party believes that the MLAs can be prevented from being poached by the opposition parties in Jaipur since it is a Congress-governed state. The development comes after Shiv Sena gathered its 56 MLAs to Hotel Rangsharda in Mumbai on Thursday.
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Congress fears stems from the fact that there seems no end to the impasse between the Shiv Sena and the BJP over the formation of the coalition government in the state. In the wake of this uncertainty, Congress believes that the saffron party might attempt to poach some of its MLAs and strengthen their bid to stake a claim at the government.
However, senior Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar said, “We are not shifting them (MLAs) to Jaipur. I am not aware of it, but if any of our MLAs have gone to Jaipur, it may be on their own to spend leisure time after the hectic schedule of the elections”.
Wadettiwar, though, has asserted that the BJP has been trying to lure their MLAs to break away and join the BJP. According to Wadettiwar, one of the Shiv Sena MLAs were allegedly offered Rs 50 crores for switching sides. “Our MLAs have also got calls. I have asked them to record the calls so that there is a proof that the BJP has been trying to poach MLAs,” he added. The Maharashtra Congress leader had yesterday said that the BJP is using money and muscle power to sway its MLAs.
A Congress source claimed that the remaining MLAs might be shifted on Saturday morning but added that the senior leaders in the party believe the shifting exercise is redundant since MLAs are unlikely to switch sides in the current scenario.
Amidst all this, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis resigned today. Speaking to media, Fadnavis said that Uddhav Thackeray has not been responding to his calls.
The BJP has won 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha. The Shiv Sena, which is resolute on its demand to share the chief minister position with the BJP through what it claims a “pre-poll agreement” has bagged 56 seats in the recently concluded assembly elections. The NCP had sent 54 MLAs to the state assembly while the 44 Congress candidates have emerged victorious in the elections. The BJP still needs the support of at least 40 MLAs to form a government in the state.