The ongoing Maharashtra drama played out from New Delhi to Mumbai Sunday, with the Supreme Court issuing notices to the Centre and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar insisting he was still with the NCP and would give the state a “stable government”.
On the other hand, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar maintained Ajit Pawar’s statement was misleading and aimed at creating confusion while categorically rejecting having any truck with BJP. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who held a meeting with Sena and NCP MLAs at the Renaissance Hotel alongside Sharad Pawar, said, “Don’t worry, this (NCP-Sena) relationship will last long. We are going to form the government (in Maharashtra).”
Here’s all you need to know about Sunday’s developments, in five points.
‘Governor not answerable for his actions’
The Supreme Court held a special session on Sunday to hear the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena’s plea against the swearing-in of Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister on Saturday.
While Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the three parties, pleaded that a floor test be ordered expeditiously, former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the BJP, said the Governor’s decisions could not be subject to judicial review. “The Governor is not answerable for his actions… The Governor is immune under Article 361,” he said.
The court finally asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to place before it the letters of the Maharashtra Governor inviting Fadnavis to form the government, and of the BJP leader staking claim to form the government, by 10:30 am Monday.
Sharad Pawar, Ajit cross swords on alliance with BJP
Even as NCP removed Ajit Pawar as its legislature party leader Saturday, the Deputy CM on Sunday tweeted: “I am in the NCP and shall always be in the NCP and Sharad Pawar is our leader. Our BJP-NCP alliance shall provide a stable Government in Maharashtra for the next five years which will work sincerely for the welfare of the State and its people. There is absolutely no need to worry, all is well. However, a little patience is required. Thank you very much for all your support.”
He also individually thanked a host of BJP leaders and Union ministers who congratulated him on Twitter over the government formation.
However, Sharad Pawar responded by saying Ajit Pawar’s statement was false and misleading. “There is no question of forming an alliance with BJP. NCP has unanimously decided to ally with Shiv Sena and Congress to form the government. Shri Ajit Pawar’s statement is false and misleading in order to create confusion and false perception among the people,” the NCP supremo said.
‘Return’ of NCP MLAs
By Sunday, most MLAs who were supposedly in the Ajit Pawar camp had re-asserted their loyalty to Sharad Pawar and NCP.
Till Sunday morning, five MLAs — Daulat Daroda (Shahapur), Nitin Pawar (Kalwan), Narhari Zhirwal (Dindori),
Babasaheb Patil (Ahmedpur), Anil Patil (Amalner) — who had attended Ajit’s swearing-in were reported ‘missing’. By the evening, only Zhirwal had not been heard from.
Sena, NCP hold meeting
On Sunday afternoon, Shiv Sena and the NCP held a meeting at the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel in Powai. Uddhav Thackeray, Aaditya Thackeray and Sharad Pawar were among those present for the meeting. The Congress, however, did not attend it.
Poaching accusations by Congress
Congress’s Ashok Chavan Sunday alleged BJP leaders had booked rooms in hotels where his party MLAs were staying and were contacting some of them. Chavan said he got to know of the BJP’s attempts from the MLAs and claimed none of them would defect.
While the Congress legislators are staying in JW Marriott hotel in Juhu, Shiv Sena’s MLAs are staying at The Lalit.
Congress had earlier planned to move its leaders to Jaipur but then decided to stay put in Mumbai.