MUMBAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday dismissed the public parade of 162 MLAs by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine as a cruel joke on the people of Maharashtra.
"How can you have an identification parade of duly elected lawmakers of the state like criminals? It's a shame on the people of the state and violates democratic norms," asked former state minister Ashish Shelar of the BJP.
Though the three parties 'paraded' 162 MLAs, did they really have the support of 145 legislators, asked Shelar as he reiterated that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar would script a thumping victory in the floor test.
He also ridiculed Shiv Sena MLA Aditya Thackeray for taking an oath in the name of Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi and said "this proves how hollow is the Hindutva claima of that party (Sena)."
"The photo-session is yours, the photographer is yours, but the photo-finish will be ours," Shelar declared, hinting at a close-finish in the upcoming Assembly floor test.
His comments came shortly after the 'Maha Vikas Aghadi' parties organised an unprecedented public parade of all the 162 supporting legislators and challenged the BJP to prove its claimed strength of 170-plus legislators.
At the gathering, which was attended by top leaders of the three parties, an oath was administered to stick to the 'Maha Vikas Aghadi' ideals and ensure the defeat of the Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar government which was sworn-in early on Saturday morning.