MAHA FEAR … NCP MLAs worried they might lose membership if whip by Ajit is defied; Sharad Pawar says not a problem

MUMBAI: Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar is planning to issue a whip to NCP MLAs to support the BJP-led government in Maharashtra at the first trial of strength in the house after a word on this is expected from the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The NCP had elected Ajit Pawar as its legislature party leader before he was sworn in as deputy CM under chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday.

However, as Ajit Pawar was a removed from the legislative party leader after his swearing in as deputy CM, now constitutional experts are arguing about the validity of a whip, if he chooses to issue one. MLAs are duty-bound to follow the whip and act accordingly; else, they would lose the assembly membership. So is the case with the Parliament as well.

NCP leader Sharad Pawar claims the support of 162 MLAs in the 288-member house for the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance, with backing also from some independents/ He told a meeting of the three parties’ MLAs grouped together in a hotel hall on Monday that he too consulted constitutional experts and got to know the MLAs need not follow a whip from Ajit Pawar since he was removed from the post later by the NCP. 

Several MLAs are still in a quandary over this matter, it is learnt, and yet Pawar’s promise was reassuring to them. –IHN-NN


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