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SC rejects urgent hearing of plea against Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance; Fadnavis silent on Ajit Pawar’s resignation

Maharashtra Govt Formation LATEST Updates: Shiv Sena chief and chief ministerial candidate of Maha Vikas Aghadi – the newly-formed ideologically opposed merger of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress – Uddhav Thackeray and his wife Rashmi meet Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhawan.

Oath-taking ceremony commenced at the Vidhan Sabha at 8 am. NCP MP Supriya Sule welcome MLAs and said that there is no rift within the Pawar family.

In a dramatic turn of events, BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and NCP’s Ajit Pawar resigned as Maharashtra chief minister and deputy chief minister, respectively, on a day marked by massive political somersaults. Uddhav Thackeray is now set to be the new chief minister, and the swearing-in ceremony is slated to take place on 28 November at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park.

Fadnavis submitted his resignation barely an hour after Ajit Pawar quit from his post. The day’s developments perhaps call for a revision of an old dictum — in the present context, an hour, and not a week, is a long time in politics.

Uddhav on Tuesday night reached Raj Bhavan and staked claim to form government in Maharashtra. Uddhav, who heads the Shiv Sena, was accompanied by legislature party leaders of the Sena, the NCP and the Congress, a Sena leader said.

“We are submitting a joint statement of staking claim for government formation before the governor. We will also produce proof of the support of all the MLAs of the three parties to the governor as a part of the mandatory procedure,” said the leader.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had said there is a “possibility of horse trading” in case of a delay in floor test, and directed that the floor test must be held on Wednesday. However, the order has now been rendered irrelevant as Fadnavis has resigned and accepted that after Ajit’s exit, the BJP does not have the numbers to form the government. Here are the broad highlights of the day:

Lies are not part of Hindutva, says Uddhav

Uddhav, addressing MLAs from the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance after Fadnavis’ resignation, said that he will make Maharashtra into the state envisioned by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He also thanked Sonia Gandhi for making it possible for him to become the chief minister. “I had never dreamed of leading the state. I would like to thank Sonia Gandhi and others. We are giving a new direction to country.”

He further said, “I accept the responsibility given by all of you. I’m not alone; all of you are with me. What happened today is proof of real democracy. Together, we will wipe off the tears of farmers in the state.”

Uddhav further asserted, “I’m ready to answer all questions raised by Devendra Fadnavis. I am not scared of anything. Lies are not part of Hindutva.”

The decision to name Uddhav as the leader of the alliance was taken at a joint meeting of the three parties at a suburban hotel in Mumbai. The meeting was attended by NCP chief Sharad Pawar, senior party leader Praful Patel, Congress leader Ashok Chavan, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana’s Raju Shetti, Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azmi, MLAs of all these parties and others. The three parties named their alliance as ‘Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi’.

The BJP’s efforts to cobble a majority hoping that Ajit Pawar will be able to enlist the support of a a large section of the MLAs of the NCP came a cropper after almost all the 54 legislators stood by his uncle and party supremo Sharad Pawar, the 78-year-old Maratha strongman.

Sharad Pawar, who spoke to Ajit over phone in the morning asking him to revisit his decision, has been credited for the U-turn by his nephew and was being described as the ‘man of the match’. Ajit Pawar cited “personal reasons’ for his decision to quit.

Fadnavis handed over his resignation to the Governor after he announced his decision at a crowded news conference in Mumbai.

Click here for timeline of Maharashtra political crisis

Ajit Pawar had supported the BJP as leader of the 54-member NCP legislature party and with his resignation earlier in the day, the government has lost majority, said Fadnavis, hours after the Supreme Court ordered the floor test for the BJP leader to prove his majority.

Holding a press conference in Mumbai, Fadnavis said the BJP had decided from the first day that it would not poach MLAs to prove its majority.

Shiv Sena surrendering Hindutva at Sonia Gandhi’s feet, says Fadnavis

Fadnavis, meanwhile, accused the former “junior” ally Shiv Sena of being desperate for the chief minister’s post and surrendering its “Hindutva” at the feet of Congress president Sonia Gandhi only to keep the BJP out of power. “NCP’s Ajit Pawar decided to co-operate with us. As per our discussion, we formed government,” Fadnavis said. “Today Ajit Pawar told me he was quitting due to personal reasons,” he said.

“Ajit Pawar met me and said he could not continue with the alliance for some reasons and he was resigning. Since he has resigned, we too do not have majority,” he said. Those accusing the BJP of indulging in horse-trading have themselves purchased an “entire stable”, Fadnavis said, hitting out at the Shiv Sena which is seeking to form government with the help of the Congress and NCP.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, accompanied by BJP leaders, submits his resignation to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. PTI

The BJP leader also questioned the sustainability of the government which the three parties with varying ideologies are planning to form.

The Sena-NCP-Congress government would be like an auto rickshaw with its three wheels running in different directions, he said, predicting that it would topple over.

With inputs from PTI

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