Amid the uncertainty over the political future of CM Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi with Eknath Shinde’s rebellion, Deepak Kesarkar, one of the MLAs from the Shinde camp, told News18 that they were in touch with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and that they have 38 MLAs with them.
The BJP has distanced itself from the turmoil, stating the party has nothing to do with the ongoing political developments in the Shiv Sena and the state.
State BJP president Chandrakant Patil told reporters in Kolhapur on Friday that “no one has submitted a proposal to the BJP to come to power”.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar, however, has accused the BJP of taking a different stance from more than two-thirds of Shiv Sena MLAs.
How many MLAs are in your camp right now?
Right now, there are 38 MLAs in our camp, and more than 12 Independent MLAs, too, are with us. More MLAs are on their way and once they reach we will be in a position to let you know. We are very confident. There is no doubt in that. The number required [to be called the official Shiv Sena and not face the defection law] is two-thirds of the  MLAs and we have already crossed it.
What’s the next step?
Shinde has gone out to a temple after which we will have a meeting. We will discuss how to challenge the CLP decision [Speaker gave nod to Uddhav-led MLAs to appoint Ajay Chaudhary as the CLP].
We have submitted a letter to the Deputy Speaker with 37 names. We will wait and if this is not considered, we will have to move court.
We are not doing anything wrong. The matter is very clear. We have people with us. We are following the system and all regulations of a democracy.
They have issued notices to MLAs that cases might be initiated against those who have travelled to Guwahati. What’s your take on that?
They are trying to exert pressure on us. It will not work. They can do what they want. It is unnecessary. There is a system and we are following it. We can fight in court. We have people with us.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that you have not proved anything on the floor. Why are you not coming to Maharashtra?
Whenever the Speaker calls us to prove our strength on the floor, we will do it. Why will our MLAs go and face muscle power? Why are they talking like this? Muscle power is not correct in democracy. Actually when we wrote to the Speaker with all signatures, he should have given us immediate recognition. Instead, we saw for the group representing only 14 MLAs, a CLP was declared. It’s illegal to call Chaudhary the CLP.
We never wanted to leave Maharashtra, but when 100 to 150 people follow your car, what can be done? This is not Balasaheb’s ideology. I have fought to bring peace to Konkan. How will a woman MLA feel when 100 people surround her car?
What’s your understanding with the BJP?
We always want to be with the BJP. We have told them several times. Our ideology is that of Balasaheb Thackeray.
We were going away from that. This is not right.
We can only form a government with the help of the BJP.
We are in touch with them. If Uddhav Thackeray leaves the NCP and Congress, we have no problem.