In a further embarrassment to the BJP, NCP president Sharad Pawar reiterated his party's suo moto "unconditional external support" to the minority government headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, here Monday.
"We do not want to destabilize the government. We want a stable government in the state. The NCP legislators will take a decision at the relevant time (of voting) for whom to vote or not," Pawar asserted, implying that NCP was the key to the government's survival.
Addressing media persons here this afternoon, the NCP chief ticked off the Shiv Sena by saying that they did not require anybody's advice on whom to support or not.
"Nobody can tell us who we should vote for or not... we are supporting this government to ensure political stability in Maharashtra. That does not mean we will support them on all issues," he said.
Pawar added that nobody from BJP had sought the NCP's support. "Running a minority government is an art… Anybody who has mastered it can run such a government," he said amidst laughter.
Pawar's statements on support came as a further embarrassment to the BJP which has been under fire from the Shiv Sena which has warned it against seeking NCP support to win the vote of confidence in the assembly Nov 12.
Sena president Uddhav Thackeray threatened to sit in the opposition if the BJP took the support of NCP to save its minority government in the floor test.
The threat was followed up with all 63 Sena legislators occupying the opposition benches on the opening day of the three-day special assembly session for the swearing-in of all 287 legislators and the crucial confidence vote scheduled Wednesday.