PUNE: NCP chief kicked off a storm by tweeting that his party was ready for mid-term polls in Maharashtra. Speaking to TV channels in the afternoon, he also asserted that his party will not support the BJP if the Sena abandons the Devendra Fadnavis government. In his tweet, Pawar referred to the Shiv Sena’s threat of pulling out of the state government after the municipal poll results. “The state is not going to suffer in any way if mid-term polls are conducted within two-and-half years. If such a situation (of the Sena pulling out) occurs after February 23, the NCP is ready to face elections,” he said. Pawar that his party had supported the BJP government after the 2014 assembly elections only to avoid immediate polls. “The situation has changed now and the NCP will not take the same stand if the Sena withdraws support and the government is in a minority,” he said. Interestingly, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray that there was no guarantee that Pawar would stick to his stand and not replace his party in the state government. The Congress, meanwhile, welcomed Pawar’s stand of not supporting the BJP. Speaking to the media in Solapur, former Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde said, “We too are ready to face mid-term polls. As a political party, we are on our toes.” Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said the Congress backed Pawar’s stand as the BJP-led government had “deceived” the farmers and left Maharashtra in a “bad shape”. Addressing his first rally for the Pune Municipal Corporation elections, Pawar rapped Fadnavis for bringing “goons” into the party. “I am amazed when I hear the chief minister speak. He calls the Shiv Sena a party of extortionists but the BJP itself has brought criminals into its fold. What is the qualification of the people joining the BJP. Some have been booked for serious offences like murder, some for rape while others are extortionists. This is not a good sign for the people’s safety,” he said. The NCP supremo said the credit for the development of Pune and the neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad must go to his party. “The NCP has guided both civic bodies in the Smart City mission. The good educational infrastructure which attracts students here is a result of the NCP’s vision,” he added.