Amidst speculation on the fate of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, a group of six Independent legislators on Thursday came out solidly in his support, warning the Bharatiya Janata Party against a leadership change in the state.
"In case the BJP decides to remove Fadnavis, we shall withdraw support to the state government," the leader of the Independent legislators group Ravi Rana told media persons here.
On Wednesday, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut created a flutter by claiming that the BJP top leadership was contemplating replacing Fadnavis in the wake of the violent Maratha quota stir which rocked the state since the past three days.
However, several senior state BJP leaders and ministers promptly dismissed Raut's contentions as "rumour-mongering" even as the government came under severe fire from its ally Shiv Sena, the opposition Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for its failure to tackle the Maratha reservations issue.
"The CM is committed to giving reservations to the Maratha community. We shall not allow him to be replaceda If the BJP attempts to remove him, we shall pull our support to the government," said Rana.
Adding a new dimension to the ongoing political row, Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde on Thursday said that "if the Maratha reservations file had come to my table, I would have cleared without a moment's delay".
Meeting a group of Marathas agitating in her home town Beed, she expressed her complete support to the community's demands, but said the delay was because the matter is currently sub-judice.
"I am fully behind the Maratha community. I shall act as your ambassador and if required, I shall approach the CM and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for your cause," she assured them.
Munde promised to take up the demand for a special legislature session to discuss the Maratha quotas issue with Fadnavis and also dealing leniently with the innocent protestors.
On Wednesday, two MLAs — one from Shiv Sena and one from NCP — had resigned from their seats to build pressure on the government to resolve the issue.