NCP state President Jayant Patil named Awhad as the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) new Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and also the new Chief Whip.
This came hours after Ajit Pawar quit the post and along with some other NCP leaders joined the Maharashtra government on Sunday evening, Awhad, who is the National General Secretary of the party arrived at the Maharashtra Speaker’s office and handed over his appointment letter to the Assembly speaker
Pawar joined the Shinde-led Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in Maharashtra and took oath as the second Deputy Chief Minister with the present Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
It was a surprise and dramatic political move that changes political equations in the State ahead of Lok Sabha and assembly polls next year and has ramifications for national politics.
The Congress and NCP appeared to be in a fight to appoint the Leader of the Opposition after Congress Spokesperson Atul Londhe said that it was yet to be decided who would be the new Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Maharashtra Assembly.
“Full picture is not yet clear. Why the LoP was from NCP? Because they had more MLAs. But now, Congress has 45 MLAs with them. And as Ajit Pawar has claimed that he has 40 MLAs with him, then NCP will have only 13 MLAs left with them. The picture would be clear in two to three days,” Atul Londhe said while speaking to ANI.
“We (Congress) don’t even need to claim anything, this is the fixed formula and I don’t think anyone has any objection to it,” Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said.
Talking to reporters after his nephew and eight other party leaders rebelled and joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government, party chief Sharad Pawar said he was not worried about what happened and will work to strengthen the party again.
He also hinted at action against party leaders Praful Patel and Sunil Tatkare, saying they did not follow their responsibilities. Sharad Pawar said some of those who joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government were facing ED cases.
On July 2, Ajit Pawar took oath as Deputy Chief Minister. Eight other NCP leaders took oath as ministers. (ANI)