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Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan today admitted that the BJP indeed has the numbers it is claiming — 134 in a house of 287 — as crisis hit Maharashtra’s ruling alliance, in which his party is a member. The whole operation, Mr Chavan told NDTV, “was orchestrated from Delhi” and a “huge amounts of money have changed hands”.

Asked about the BJP claims of having 134-135 MLAs, Mr Chavan said in an exclusive interview,”There is no dispute about that”.

The escalating crisis in Maharashtra was set off by Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde, who is camping out in Surat with 21 MLAs, following a disagreement with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray over the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections. As Mr Thackeray sacked him from the post of the chief whip, Mr Shinde retaliated by removing the name of Shiv Sena from his Twitter bio.

The Sena has sent emissaries to Surat to initiate talks with the rebels.

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