Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday said NCP leader Ajit Pawar has joined his government to support the state's development and express his faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Sunday, Ajit Pawar led a vertical split in the NCP to become deputy chief minister in the one-year-old Shiv Sena-BJP government, shocking his uncle Sharad Pawar, who founded the party 24 years ago after quitting the Congress.
Besides him, eight other NCP MLAs, including Chhagan Bhujbal and Hasan Mushrif, were sworn in as ministers in the Shinde cabinet.
Talking to reporters here, Shinde said his new deputy Ajit Pawar has chosen the path of development and expressed his faith in the leadership of Modi.
"We, too, are walking on the same path," said Shinde, who himself spearheaded a rebellion against the leadership of the undivided Shiv Sena last year, leading to the collapse of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government headed by Uddhav Thackeray.
Addressing a press conference earlier in the day, Ajit Pawar said he enjoyed the support of a "maximum" number of NCP legislators.
"A majority of NCP MLAs are with us, that is why I became deputy CM. Whatever we are doing is in the interest of the party. We will strengthen our party further, " he said.
The NCP has 53 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly.
The 'Mahayuti' (grand alliance) government (led by Chief Minister Shinde) in Maharashtra will work for the welfare of the state and its people, the deputy CM maintained.