Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar on Sunday blamed BJP for the defection of three of his party leaders within a week and also blamed Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis for the crisis.
Accusing BJP of poaching leaders, he alleged that CM Fadnavis was forcing opposition leaders to join his side by misusing state-run financial bodies ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly polls this year.
Crisis not limited to Maharashtra, it has happened everywhere: Pawar
Pawar also accused the Center of misusing investigation agencies for pressuring opposition leaders who aren't willing to join BJP.
He said BJP is "misusing agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax, CBI, and ACB to compel leaders from other parties to join them."
He added, "This (crisis) is not limited to Maharashtra, it has happened everywhere."
Government flouted norms to compel leaders to join BJP: Pawar
Pawar alleged that the Fadnavis-led government violated several norms to help opposition lawmakers in their businesses, compelling them to join BJP.
"The sugar mill of (former MLA) Kalyan Kale in Pandharpur was in a difficult situation. The state government, by flouting norms, gave Rs. 30-35 crore...and asked him to join the BJP. Since he wanted to save his factory, he switched over," he alleged.
Three leaders left NCP in this month alone
Pawar's comments came after NCP witnessed defections of three party leaders, including two seniors.
NCP's Mumbai unit chief, Sachin Ahir, joined Shiv Sena, Maharashtra's ruling alliance partner. Later, NCP legislator Vaibhav Pichad -the son of veteran NCP leader and former Maharashtra minister Madhukar Pichad- announced he will join the ruling BJP.
Head of NCP's women wing in Maharashtra, Chitra Wagh, also left the party.
Pawar should have introspection within his own party: Fadnavis
CM Fadnavis, however, sharply rebuked Pawar's remarks and added the NCP President should introspect within his own party.
"BJP has never done politics of pressuring others. In last five years, government helped several sugar factories, facing difficult times. There's a long list but no one was asked to join BJP for this. (Sharad) Pawar sa'ab should have introspection within his own party," he said.