BJP looks beyond halfway mark to win Maharashtra trust vote
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is pulling out all stops to win a majority in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, but without much hoopla and away from the eye of the media.
The party is looking at a target of 170 to 180 legislators. The half-way mark in the 288-member house is 145.
At least four senior leaders and turncoats from the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), including Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Narayan Rane, Ganesh Naik and Babanrao Pachpute, have been asked by BJP leaders to get in touch with MLAs and their old contacts from other parties.
Close aide and water resources minister Girish Mahajan too has been put on the job. Besides its own 105 legislators and 15 independents (currently it has support letters of 11 MLAs), the BJP is counting on deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar bringing in 27 to 30 MLAs of the NCP to support it. This can take the party strength to 143 to 146. “We are aiming to getting our Speaker elected. The speaker’s election is by a secret ballot,” said a BJP former minister. But with NCP chief Sharad Pawar putting up a fight, the BJP is keen on bolstering the numbers to be on the safer side on the day of the trust vote.