The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday said the removal of Ajit Pawar as leader of the Nationalist Congress Party’s legislative unit was invalid, reported PTI. Ajit Pawar was sacked on Saturday noon hours after he joined hands with the saffron party and took oath as deputy chief minister of Maharashtra. He was replaced by Jayant Patil.

State BJP leader Ashish Shelar said Patil was made the NCP’s legislative leader at a meeting where all MLAs of the party were not present. “The letter of support to the governor was given by Ajit Pawar as leader of the NCP’s legislature party,” he said. “Ajit Pawar’s replacement with Jayant Patil is invalid.

He pointed out that the change in leadership of the NCP legislature party will need to be verified by the governor. “The petition [filed by the Shiv Sena and others against the governor’s decision of swearing in Devendra Fadnavis as the Maharashtra chief minister] in the Supreme Court doesn’t challenge the October 30 appointment of Ajit Pawar as the legislature party leader,” said Shelar.

Ahead of the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Sena-NCP-Congress plea against the Maharashtra government formation, Shelar said his party will follow the court’s orders. The plea asked for a floor test to be conducted within 24 hours to prevent further horse-trading.

Shelar, however, claimed that the governor has given them time till November 30. “We will prove a majority with 170 MLAs or more than that,” he told ANI.

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