By late last night, several companies of CRPF and RAF personnel were flown to Mumbai and all of them were deployed all across Mumbai much before Devendra Fadnavis took the oath for the second consecutive term as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. In all, about 30 companies (over 100 personnel each in one company) were flown to Mumbai. This is besides a battalion of RAF and CRPF each already stationed in Mumbai. The Union Home Ministry silently deployed huge number of security personnel from Telangana to Mumbai amid fears of a severe backlash by the Shiv Sena cadres. Among the forces were a large number of personnel of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), a specialised wing of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which deals with riot-like situations and related unrest. While RAF personnel were still on bandobast duties. Though nothing untoward was reported on Sunday, what with all parties brainstorming on their future moves, the Maharashtra police nevertheless stepped up the alert.
When AV contacted Vidya Chavan spokesperson of NCP to know whether they were aware about Ajit Pawar’s motive behind supporting BJP she said, “The party and Pawar Saheb were not aware about Ajit Dada supporting BJP. In fact, Pawar Saheb was trying to have a tie-up with Shiv Sena and Congress to form a government in Maharashtra to keep BJP away from power.”
“Ajit Dada himself had come along with us for attending party meeting in Delhi and Mumbai. In fact, he was the one who said if any party MLA will go or support BJP we will take strict action against him or her. But no one from the party is ready to believe that Ajit Dada had taken this step. It was a big shock for both party and Sharad Pawar,” she said.
When asked, if Ajit Pawar resigns from Deputy CM’s post will party accept him, she replied, “Yes we will accept him if he is ready to admit his mistake. However, party will decide what step they will take further. But today it’s important that he should resign from the post,” she added further.
Maharashtra police is expecting sporadic protests by the Sena, which could turn violent. Most of them have been deployed in and around Mumbai besides the Konkan coastal areas, considered Shiv Sena strongholds. The deployment will be in place for the next few days. Depending on how the situation unfolds over the next 48 hours, the Home Ministry will take a decision on moving more numbers of central paramilitary forces to Mumbai. More companies of paramilitary personnel have been kept on standby.
NCP leader and National president of Nationalist Mahila Congress Fouzia Khan said,“No one was aware of Ajit Pawar’s decision to support BJP. However, Pawar Saheb and Supriya Sule have said if he wants to rejoin the party then he can.”
Meanwhile, NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a meeting of his party MLAs, in the wake of his nephew and legislature party leader Ajit Pawar joining hands with the BJP to form the government in Maharashtra. With the stunning return of the BJP to power in the state – have prompted the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress to move their MLAs to different hotels. The MLAs have been sequestered in an attempt to protect them from poaching. The three parties have taken their MLAs to luxury hotels in Mumbai itself, anticipating that they will have to be rushed in anytime to the state assembly for a floor test in which the BJP has to prove its majority. MLAs of Mr Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were taken to Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai’s Powai in buses Saturday night.
The Shiv Sena has moved 55 of its 56 MLAs to Lalit Hotel in Mumbai’s Andheri. They have also been ordered to surrender their mobile phones. The Congress, meanwhile, has moved its 44 MLAs to JW Marriott in Mumbai. However, eight independents are staying at a hotel in Goa where the Sena MLAs are staying. Sources from the Congress and the Sena have said keeping their MLAs together would be crucial to defeating the BJP in a floor test that may be held by November 30.
To save the present position, Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar held a meeting with NCP MP Sunil Tatkare in Mumbai, NCP MLAs Dilip Walse Patil and Hasan Mushrif were also present in the meeting. The meeting was held at his brother Sriniwas Pawar’s residence. Security has been tightened outside the residence of Sriniwas Pawar.