Senior Nationalist Congress leader Nawab Malik on Saturday took a dig at former party colleague Ajit Pawar, who broke away from the party and joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party to form a government in Maharashtra, saying he had misused the signatures of the party’s MLAs, ANI reported.

“We had taken signatures from MLAs for attendance, it was misused as a basis for the oath,” Malik told reporters in Mumbai. He said a number of MLAs who were reported to have joined hands with Ajit Pawar had come back to the party fold, saying they had been misled.

At a press conference, Sharad Pawar said only 10 or 11 legislators were supporting Ajit Pawar, and added that the BJP would fail to prove majority in the Assembly. The former Union minister said the NCP would continue to back the Shiv Sena to form the government.

Meanwhile, his daughter and Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule posted an emotional WhatsApp status, according to reports. “Who do you trust in life? Never felt so cheated in my life...defended him loved him...look what I get in return,” she wrote, according to Hindustan Times. Sule told the newspaper that it was clear from her father’s tweet that there was “a split in the NCP”.

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Asked how many of the MLAs had deserted the party, Sule said it would take time to figure it out. “These things take time,” she added.

The Nationalist Congress Party, the Shiv Sena, and the Congress have expressed confidence about winning a trust vote in the Assembly. Sharad Pawar has said the party will do whatever necessary to keep its MLAs together. According to reports, the Congress is planning to move its legislators out of the state to prevent any attempts at horse-trading.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said the BJP had disrespected the Constitution and held a “political surgical strike”. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has claimed that Ajit Pawar was blackmailed into supporting the saffron party, and might come back to the NCP fold. Sena mouthpiece Saamana will soon publish an article on this, he told reporters in Mumbai on Saturday afternoon.


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