New Delhi: Country woke up to a massive surprise on Saturday after Devendra Fadnavis returned as Maharashtra Chief Minister for second consecutive time with the support of senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar, who sworn in as his deputy. The development came as a shock to Sena, NCP and Congress who were set to form a coalition government (Maha Vikas Aghadi) in the state.
Notably, the leaders of the three parties were relieved after hectic parleys on Friday night. They had confirmed that Uddhav Thackeray will be sworn in as next Maharashtra CM but the state’s fate took a different turn on November 23, after the President’s rule ended and BJP stormed back to power in the state.
Miffed with series of events, the Sena-NCP-Congress moved the Supreme Court and filed a petition late Saturday evening. The parties sought a floor test within 24 hours to avoid further horse-trading and ‘illegal manoeuvres’ in Maharashtra. The court will hear the petition at 11.30 am on Sunday. (Also Read: Ajit Took ‘Personal Decision’ to Support BJP, Alleges NCP Chief Sharad Pawar)
Upping the ante against the governor, the parties referred his decision to invite Fadnavis to form the government — as unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal, and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
“It is respectfully submitted that the Governor’s actions between the intervening night of 22.11.2019 and 23.11.2019 culminating to the swearing in on the 23.11.2019 are a text book example of the Governor acting at the behest of a political party in power at the Centre,” the Sena-NCP-Congress petition read.
NCP Sacks Ajit Pawar
Hours after he joined hands with the BJP, the NCP sacked Ajit Pawar and replaced him with its state President Jayant Patil as party’s new Legislature group chief.
The decision to sack Ajit was taken at a NCP meeting convened by party supremo Sharad Pawar. A resolution passed at the legislature wing’s meeting said that Ajit’s actions defied the party’s policies. Besides, the resolution also said that Ajit Pawar’s right to issue a whip were also revoked.
Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai
Meanwhile, Fadnavis, in his first reaction after taking oath as the Mahrashtra Chief Minister showered praise on PM Narendra Modi by reciting the BJP’s poll slogan ‘Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai (Anything is possible if Modi is there)’
While addressing BJP workers outside party headquarters in Mumbai, Fadnavis also said that his party will provide a stable government in the state with Ajit Pawar’s support.
Resort Politics Begin
Stunned by Ajit Pawar’s move, the Congress and the Shiv Sena reportedly planned to shift their respective MLAs to Jaipur. “We may go to Jaipur tomorrow. We will be there until the special session of the state Legislative Assembly is convened for newly-elected MLAs to take oath, election of Speaker and trust vote,” Congress MLA Nana Patole told PTI.
Earlier in the day, the Shiv Sena had shifted its 55 MLAs to a hotel in Navi Mumbai to avoid poaching. Sources close to the Sena told a news agency that 55 out of 56 MLAs have been brought at the Hotel Lalit in Navi Mumbai. All the legislators have been asked to submit their mobile phones and two MLAs are being allotted to a room to keep a close vigil on their movements.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya also held meeting with the legislators at the hotel and assured them that the saffron party will form government in Maharashtra.
Besides, NCP also confirmed that 50 of its 54 MLAs have expressed support for the party. “The government has been given time till November 30. We will defeat them in the Speaker’s election. We are sure the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP will form the government,” NCP leader Nawab Malik said, adding that the NCP MLAs will stay in Mumbai.