Ajit Pawar ahead in numbers game; 35 of 53 NCP MLAs attend his meeting

Ajit Pawar camp needs the support of at least 36 MLAs to avoid disqualification.

Mumbai: As many as 35 of 53 NCP MLAs were present at the party meeting convened by Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in Mumbai on Wednesday, party sources said.

The number will increase further, the sources said. Five of eight NCP MLCs are also attending the meeting taking place in suburban Bandra, they said.

According to former principal secretary of Maharashtra Legislature Anant Kalse, Ajit Pawar camp needs the support of at least 36 MLAs to avoid disqualification.

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NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s supporters thronged his residence in south Mumbai on Wednesday, hours ahead of the show of strength meetings convened by him and Ajit Pawar who parted ways to become the deputy chief minister.

The Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar factions of the Nationalist Congress Party are holding their meetings in Yashwantrao Chavan Centre in south Mumbai and in Bhujbal Knowledge City in suburban Bandra, respectively.

Outside Silver Oak, the senior Pawar’s residence in south Mumbai, a party worker was seen carrying a banner which read: ’83-year-old warrior waging a fight alone’.

Supporters of Ajit Pawar also gathered outside his Devgiri official residence, also in south Mumbai, before he left to attend the meeting at Bandra.

“We are hard core Dada (as Ajit Pawar is called) supporters. We have come all the way from Baramati,” an NCP worker told the media outside Devgiri.

MLA Anil Patil claimed that as many as 40 of the 53 party MLAs are with Ajit Pawar.

These are the first meetings involving party functionaries for both factions since Ajit Pawar and eight MLAs, including Chhagan Bhujbal, Dilip Walse Patil and Hasan Mushrif, joined the Eknath Shinde government on Sunday.

Both factions have claimed that they have most MLAs with them.

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