Maharashtra government formation LIVE Updates: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar seems to be equally miffed with his nephew Ajit’s decision to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “I came to know at 7 am today about Ajit Pawar. I did not know before that. I will hold a press conference in some time. Uddhav too will address the media. I will speak elaborately then,” the NCP chief said, clarifying that it was not his decision.
In an overnight coup, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) turned its tables on rivals with a faction of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) breaking away under Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar and forming government under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The development has brought a major twist in the Maharashtra saga as a day earlier it was senior Pawar who announced that the new Maharashtra government would be led by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
“I am happy to have been given another chance to serve as the chief minister of Maharashtra. The people of Maharashtra had given a very clear mandate but the Shiv Sena, which fought the elections alongside us, rejected people’s mandate. The state needs a strong government and we are determined to give them that. The President’s rule should end now,” Fadnavis said. The BJP and Shiv Sena, which fought the state elections in alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member Assembly. But the BJP did not cede the Sena’s demand of sharing the chief minister’s post, leading to falling apart of the nearly three-decade-old alliance. The Congress and NCP won 44 and 54 seats respectively, in the last month’s polls.
On Friday, the new trio of Sena-NCP-Congress finally came to a consensus to reserve the top post for senior Thackeray as the Nationalist Congress Party seemed hesitant to back any other candidate for the key post. However, now the logjam is over speaker position and the post of deputy chief minister. Sources said that since the biggest party has taken CM post, second biggest should get speaker. But the Congress is insisting on the speaker post, a source said, adding that remains a bone of contention between Congress and NCP.
The source said that the Congress leaders spoke to grand old party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi over the logjam on Friday. A clearer picture is expected to emerge today. Another source said that Congress is looking at a Dalit face for the post of deputy CM. But Sharad Pawar-led party is likely to select a Maratha for the post. The portfolio of education is expected to be held by Thackeray’s MLA-son Aaditya, the source added.
Emerging from a marathon meeting of top leaders of the Congress, the NCP and the Sena, who are making efforts to form government in Maharashtra, Pawar on Friday said there was a consensus on Thackeray’s leadership. “There is a consensus that leadership of the government will be with Uddhav Thackeray,” he told reporters after the meeting. He said the meeting at Nehru Centre in central Mumbai deliberated extensively on finalising an agenda for governance.
Meanwhile, a fresh PIL was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday seeking to restrain the Maharashtra Governor from inviting political parties Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress to form the government “against the people’s mandate” and to declare such formation as “unconstitutional”.
Terming the alliance as “unholy”, the plea filed by Maharashtra resident Surendra Indrabahadur Singh said that if a coalition of Shiv Sena with the political parties against which it contested is allowed, it would be against constitutional ethos and will result in dilution of public mandate.
“The present petition seeks to stop the unholy alliance between three political parties which have all fought against each other but is trying to form government by joining hands thereby cheating the electoral mandate,” the plea said.
This is the second petition filed against the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance. The first petition in this regard was filed by one Pramod Pandit Joshi seeking declaration of the coalition as “fraud” on the electorate for gaining power.
The fresh PIL said the Governor is under constitutional obligation to consider concept of popular government but the post poll alliance between Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress is based on power sharing concept between parties which have been voted out by people. The plea alleged that the change in the stand of Shiv Sena, which had fought the Assembly polls along with BJP, was “nothing but betrayal of people trust reposed in the NDA”.
It said that the Maharashtra electorate cast votes keeping in mind the pre-poll alliance of Shiv Sena and BJP; however the new coalition would be against the constitutional right of voters and vitiate entire electoral system.
“Shiv Sena is trading with NCP and INC to stake claim to form government in Maharashtra. Such act, if done, will amount to playing fraud on the voters who have voted for Shiv Sena believing them that its going for alliance with Bhartiya Janta Party and vice versa. Such Votes which are cast under misrepresentation and fraud, vitiates the vote cast by me and people alike and infact vitiates the entire democratic electoral system,” the plea alleged.
“The voters of BJP and Shiv Sena had casted their vote either to BJP or Shiv Sena on the belief that the Mandate is being made in favour of the Mahayuti. Similarly people voted for either NCP or INC on the belief that it is being made in favour of Maha aghadi… However, due to some differences between Mahayuti partners, they have not claimed to form government which is an insult to mandate given by people. In fact the mandate was being put in trade by formation of the new government in Maharashtra,” it further said.
President’s rule has been imposed in the state since November 12 after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari sent a report to the Centre, stating that formation of a stable government was impossible in the current situation despite all his efforts.