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Maharashtra Government “Running Smoothly”: Sharad Pawar Amid Crisis

In the middle of a huge crisis for Maharashtra’s ruling coalition following a rebellion by 22 MLAs, Sharad Pawar today said “we will find a way out of this situation”. The former Union Minister said he “may meet” with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray tonight.

“We are fully confident that Uddhav Thackeray will resolve this,” the NCP leader told reporters, stressing that he considered the crisis an “internal matter of the Shiv Sena”, nothing to do with the other coalition partners, at this point.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra coalition went into crisis mode after minister and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and 21 more MLAs moved to a hotel in Surat in BJP-ruled Gujarat.

Reports suggest that Eknath Shinde, who has been sulking for a while, wants to be Chief Minister.

“Eknath Shinde has never conveyed to us that he wants to be Chief Minister. The Chief Minister’s post belongs to the Shiv Sena. The deputy Chief Minister’s post is that of NCP. This is an internal issue of Shiv Sena, whatever they decide we are with them,” said Sharad Pawar.

“We don’t think there is any need of changes to the government,” he added.

His words indicated that Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena may face difficulty offering the post of Deputy Chief Minister to placate the sulking Eknath Shinde.

Mr Pawar said the Shiv Sena had said it would clarify on the situation after an “in-depth study” in the afternoon.

“When we know the ground reality then we will work on our strategy,” he said.

Mr Pawar, the man who crafted the ruling coalition by bringing together ideologically opposed parties, is key to the coalition’s stability as the Shiv Sena scrambles for numbers.

Mr Pawar’s party has 53 MLAs who can be crucial even for the opposition BJP, in any attempt to topple the government.

The NCP chief laughed off questions on the possibility of him accepting a tie-up with the BJP.

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