At a gathering in Mumbai on Wednesday, 35 of the 53 Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs were present at the meeting held by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. This number is expected to increase, as five of the eight NCP MLCs are also in attendance. According to Anant Kalse, former principal secretary of the Maharashtra Legislature, Ajit Pawar needs the support of at least 36 MLAs to avoid disqualification.
Prior to the show of strength meetings, supporters of Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar, who had recently separated, had gathered outside of each of their residences. One of Sharad Pawar’s supporters carried a banner which read: ’83-year-old warrior waging a fight alone’. Outside of Ajit Pawar’s Devgiri official residence, a worker stated that they had come all the way from Baramati in support of the Deputy Chief Minister. MLA Anil Patil claimed that as many as 40 MLAs are with Ajit Pawar.
These meetings are the first since Ajit Pawar and eight MLAs joined the Eknath Shinde government on Sunday, with both factions claiming to have the most MLAs.