Maharashtra Mahabharat: Supreme Court Orders Floor Test on November 27

Sena, NCP, Congress hail apex court order; BJP says will prove majority

Ajit Pawar resigns as deputy chief minister

Ajit Pawar has resigned as deputy chief minister

Developing story

I.S. Saluja

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI(TIP): The high drama over government formation in Maharashtra is full of surprises and interesting twists.  The efforts for a ghar vapasi of Ajit Pawar seem to be succeeding with Ajit Pawar resigning as deputy chief minister, November 26 afternoon.

Earlier in the morning, Supreme Court of India delivered its verdict on petitions filed by Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress challenging Maharashtra Governor’s “arbitrary and unconstitutional” action in inviting Fadnavis to form a government and swearing him in as chief minister who does not command majority. The petitioners claimed that they had the numbers and demanded immediate floor test.

The Supreme Court directed that the floor test for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to prove his majority in the Maharashtra Assembly be conducted on Wednesday, November 27.

It directed Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to ensure that all elected members of the House were sworn in on Wednesday itself.

The apex court said the entire proceedings had to be telecast live. Voting in the Assembly would not be on the basis of secret ballot, it said.

Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister and NCP’s Ajit Pawar as his deputy by the governor at a hush-hush ceremony in Raj Bhavan on Saturday morning.

In the 288-member House, the BJP will have to prove support of 145 MLAs to remain in power.

The BJP and the Sena, which fought the last month’s Assembly polls in an alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively.

The Sena, however, broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister’s post.

The NCP and Congress won 54 and 44 seats, respectively.

Welcoming the Supreme Court’s order calling for a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on Wednesday, the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress on Tuesday said truth would win and asserted that the BJP would be defeated.

On its part, the BJP said it respected the verdict and expressed confidence that it would prove majority on the floor of the House.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar, whose nephew Ajit Pawar rebelled against the party last week and supported the BJP to form government in the state, hailed the apex court for upholding the constitutional principles.

“I am grateful to Hon’ble SC for upholding democratic values and constitutional principles. It’s heartening that the Maharashtra Verdict came on the #ConstitutionDay, a Tribute to Bharatratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar!” Pawar tweeted after the ruling.

Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said truth could not be defeated.

“Satyamev jayate” (truth shall prevail), Raut tweeted.

“Satya pareshan ho sakta hai…parajit nahi ho sakta…Jai Hind!!” (Truth can get frustrated, but cannot get defeated), he said in another tweet.

Sena leader Eknath Shinde said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should resign as the Uddhav Thackeray’s party-led coalition had the support of “162 MLAs” to prove majority in the Maharashtra Assembly.

He claimed that during the floor test, the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ of the Sena, NCP and Congress would have the support of “170 legislators”.

NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik also hailed the Supreme Court order.

“Satyamev Jayate BJP ka khel khatm (Truth alone shall win, end of the BJP’s game),” Malik said on the micro-blogging site.

Welcoming the ruling, the Congress said the Constitution is supreme in a democracy, “which is more powerful than money and muscle power”.

Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil exuded confidence that his party would be able to prove majority on the floor of the House.

“We respect the court order. We are ready to prove majority and we will show it,” Patil told reporters here.

The BJP would hold a meeting of its senior leaders on Tuesday to work out a strategy ahead of the floor test, he said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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