Maha coup: Ajit Pawar (left) with Devendra Fadnavis at the swearing-in.

Maha coup: Ajit Pawar (left) with Devendra Fadnavis at the swearing-in.

Maha betrayal! Nation wakes up to find Fadnavis sworn-in as CM; Koshyari not kosher

NCP sacks Ajit as legislature chief, says can't issue whip; SC to hear plea Sunday

Agency Report | Mumbai/New Delhi | 23 November, 2019 | 11:00 PM

In a midnight coup of sorts, BJP's Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as Maharashtra's Chief Minister, and NCP's Ajit Pawar was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister just hours after the NCP-Congress-Sena alliance announced that they were all set to form the government. In a dramatic turn of events, the BJP-NCP government in Maharashtra took charge after the President’s Rule, imposed in the state a fortnight ago, was revoked at 5.47 am Saturday. Apart from the unprecedented turn of events in which BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the chief minister and NCP’s Ajit Pawar his deputy, the procedure adopted to revoke the President’s Rule in the state has caught the attention of experts. Maharashtra was put under President’s Rule on 12 November after the assembly elections last month delivered a fractured mandate. The President’s Rule is generally revoked after a recommendation for this is made by the Union cabinet to the President. But the central government invoked Rule 12 of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules to revoke the President’s Rule, without holding a meeting of the Union cabinet. The BJP and Modi seem to have violated every norm to push through a government headed by Fadnavis.

The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine on Saturday night filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the Maharashtra Governor’s decision to swear-in BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister and demanded an immediate floor test to avoid “further horse-trading”.

The three parties also sought a direction to the governor to invite them to form the government under the leadership of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray saying they have the support of more than 144 MLAs.

The petitioners alleged that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has acted in a “partisan manner” and has allowed himself to be a “pawn in the BJP’s illegal usurpation of power”.

The parties further prayed for an “immediate floor test within 24 hours so as to avoid further horse-trading and illegal manoeuvres to somehow cobble up a majority from the MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi)”.

Their lawyer Sunil Fernandes said the petition has been filed with the registry and a formal listing of the plea for hearing is awaited. The Supreme Court is going to hear the petition at 11.30 am Sunday.

BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and NCP leader Ajit Pawar took oath as the Maharashtra chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively on Saturday, an unexpected development a day after Shiv Sena president

Uddhav Thackeray emerged as the Sena-NCP-Congress consensus candidate for the top post. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, however, said it was his nephew Ajit Pawar’s own decision, and not that of the party, to support the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the government.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut accused Ajit Pawar of stabbing the Sena in the back by deciding to join hands with the BJP. He said Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray would address a joint press conference in Mumbai soon.

The month-long political impasse ended dramatically with Fadnavis returning as the chief minister after the President’s rule, imposed in the state on November 12, was revoked early on Saturday.

The development raised eyebrows not only in the political circles but also among the people of the state as the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress had been holding talks over forming the government in the state.

It was only on Friday evening that Sharad Pawar had said the new government would be led by Uddhav Thackeray, which signalled the end of speculation on who would occupy the chief minister’s post.

The three parties had even prepared a draft common minimum programme (CMP) to guide the actions of the new government.

However, after the oath-taking ceremony was held early on Saturday, Sharad Pawar tweeted: “Ajit Pawar’s decision to support the BJP to form the Maharashtra Government is his personal decision and not that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his.” Talking to reporters, Raut said: “Ajit Pawar has stabbed the Shiv Sena in the back.

Joining hands with the BJP to form the government is a betrayal.” The BJP and the Sena, which fought the assembly polls in an alliance, had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively in the 288-member House. However, the Sena broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister’s post.

The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats respectively.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar for taking oath as chief minister and deputy chief minister of Maharashtra respectively.

The NCP on November 23 evening removed Ajit Pawar as the party’s legislature unit leader after he joined hands with the BJP and took oath as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra.

Ajit Pawar’s actions defied the party’s policies, said a resolution passed at the legislature wing’s meeting here, attended by party supremo Sharad Pawar.

State NCP chief Jayant Patil will have all the constitutional rights till the next legislature party leader is elected, it said. The meeting, convened by Pawar after the dramatic developments of the morning, was attended by 49 of 54 party MLAs, and the party expected remaining legislators to join them, sources said.

Ajit Pawar, the NCP chief’s nephew, had been elected as the legislature party leader on October 30 following the results of the Maharashtra assembly elections. The resolution passed at the meeting also said that Ajit Pawar’s right to issue a whip was also revoked.

The party authorized Sharad Pawar and Jayant Patil to decide its stand in the light of the developments.