New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Monday resume the hearing in the joint petition filed by the Shiv Sena-Congress-National Congress Party alliance seeking an immediate floor test to prevent horse-trading and “illegal manoeuvres” in Maharashtra.
The plea filed by the joint alliance ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ had also sought for the quashing of Maharasthra Governor BS Koshyari’s decision to invite BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis to form the government. The state Governor’s decision was slammed by the joint alliance as ‘unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal, void-ab-initio and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India’.
During the urgent hearing on Sunday at 11:30 AM, the Supreme Court had directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to produce relevant documents including the letter submitted by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to Maharashtra Governor and that of BS Koshayari inviting BJP to form a government. Notably, Mehta was asked to produce the letters by 10:30 AM on Monday, following which the apex court will pass an ‘appropriate order’.
Hours after the senior leader Ajit Pawar joined hands with the BJP on Saturday night and took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, the NCP assured that the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ will defeat the new BJP-led government in the state during the Assembly Speaker’s election, indicating that most of its MLAs were intact.
Here are the top developments of the day (November 24) on Maharashtra’s Political Crisis:
Ajit Pawar Meets Fadnavis at Latter’s Residence:
On Sunday, the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar met the new Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the latter’s official bungalow ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai. Notably, this was their first formal meeting following their swearing-in ceremony on Saturday morning.
While reports claimed the two leaders met to discuss the nitty-gritty of government formation, the upcoming floor test in the Assembly and the future political strategy, an official statement from the Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Office issued on Sunday read: “CM Devendra Fadnavis and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar today met and discussed on various measures for additional support and assistance to unseasonal rain-affected farmers. Tomorrow (November 25) it will be further discussed with Chief Secretary and Finance Secretary.”
Horse-trading in Play:
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Chavan on Sunday accused the BJP of trying to gain more time from the apex court to poach MLAs from other parties. According to news agency ANI, Ashok Chavan said, “Senior-most member of the assembly should be made the Pro-tem Speaker as per the precedence. BJP is trying to gain more time from the Supreme Court, you can understand the motive behind this, they are trying to poach MLAs from other parties.” The Congress leader also accused NCP leader Ajit Pawar of misusing the letter of MLAs during the formation of the new government in Maharashtra by the BJP. Ashok Chavan was quoted by news agency PTI as saying, “The MLAs of Pawar (Sharad Pawar) have denied giving any kind of support through that letter, they say their letter was misused. Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress has the number.”
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik noted that only 50 MLAs are with the party, and expressed confidence that the 4 MLAs who are kept somewhere by the BJP will definitely come back.
NCP MLA Dhananjay Munde, who was rumoured to have extended support to Ajit Pawar, on Sunday said, “I am with the party, I am with Pawar saheb (Sharad Pawar). Please don’t spread rumours.”
About ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ Petition:
The petition further sought the Supreme Court’s direction to Koshyari to invite the alliance of Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP “which has the support of more than 144 MLAs to form the government under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray”.
The Sena insisted that the Governor has installed a minority BJP government which was illegal, unconstitutional and in violation of the well-settled law laid down by the top court.
It said its political alliance constitutes a clear majority in the House. “It is submitted that such manoeuvring, at the behest of the BJP through the Governor to suit their political agenda, actually amounts to a death knell on democracy which is a basic feature of our Constitution,” said the petition.
(With agency inputs)