Mumbai: NCP chief Sharad Pawar, whose party has extended crucial outside support to the BJP government in Maharashtra, on Monday said the decision was prompted by the need to avoid fresh elections but made it clear that the party will play the role of an effective Opposition.
Pawar said the decision to back the minority government was "conscious and collective" and not part of a "hidden deal" with BJP.
"We have not discussed our decision with anyone. It was a conscious and collective decision in the larger interest of the state. Nobody asked us for our support. BJP is free to not accept our support," he told a press conference.
Pawar said since Congress and NCP were not in a position to provide an alternative government, the only way to avoid a fresh poll was to back the BJP dispensation.
"The number game is such that there is no (possibility of) alternative arrangement. We don't want the state to go for another election immediately," he said.
Rubbishing suggestions that NCP had lent unconditional outside support to the BJP government as part of a "hidden deal", Pawar said," The government is free to investigate all the charges and allegations against NCP leaders so the truth can come out. If its decisions or bills are not people oriented, we will not support the government."
"Even though NCP will not destabilise the government, it will play the role of an effective Opposition," he said. The NCP leader also slammed Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for his yesterday's remark on "saffron terror" attributed to him.
While issuing an ultimatum to BJP, Uddhav had said his party will sit in Opposition if the government took NCP's support for its survival as Pawar had spoken about "saffron terror".