NCP MLAs Atul Benke, Diliprao Bankar repose faith in Sharad Pawar

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Nov 23 (ANI): Amid action-packed political drama with a faction of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs joining hands with the BJP under the leadership of Ajit Pawar, two NCP MLAs -- Atul Benke and Diliprao Bankar -- have extended support to party chief Sharad Pawar.

Taking to Twitter on Saturday, Bankar wrote in Marathi: "My faith is in Sharad Pawar. I am with the NCP only." In his tweet, he also confirmed that he went to the Raj Bhavan when Ajit asked him to accompany him.

Benke, while speaking to ANI, said: "I am with Sharad Pawar Ji. We all are together."

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar held a meeting with two NCP MLAs -- Dilip Walse Patil and Hasan Mushrif at his brother Sriniwas Pawar's residence amid tight security.

BJP's Devendra Fadnavis today in the morning took oath as Maharashtra's Chief Minister for the second consecutive term while Pawar took oath as Deputy Chief Minister of the state. The oath was administered by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan.

The move came at a time when deliberations among Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena on the government formation had seemingly reached the final stage on Friday.

The BJP, which emerged as the single-largest party in the last month's assembly elections, could not stake claim to form the government as its ally Shiv Sena remained firm on rotating the Chief Minister's post and equal sharing of Cabinet berths.

Shiv Sena parted its ways with the BJP to explore ways to form a government. It, however, failed to prove the support of the required number of MLAs in the time given by Koshyari.

The Governor had then invited NCP, the third-largest party, to prove its ability to form the government failing which the President's Rule was imposed in the state.

The BJP won 105 seats in the 288-member assembly followed by Shiv Sena 56, NCP 54 and Congress 44. (ANI)