The twists and turn in the political scenario of Maharashtra took place in a matter of 12 hours from Friday night to this morning, when Devendra Fadnavis took oath as the Chief Minister for the second term and NCP leader Ajit Pawar as his deputy.
The discreet negotiations between the BJP’s top leadership and Pawar entered its final stages as the alliance between Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress reached a consensus that Uddhav Thackeray would be the CM of the state last night.
Sources told The Indian Express BJP chief Amit Shah rushed his most trusted lieutenant Bhupender Yadav, who is the party general secretary and in-charge of elections in Maharashtra, to Mumbai for the final rounds of talks on Friday night. Yadav reached Mumbai at 7 pm to iron out, along with Devendra Fadnavis, the last of the differences with Pawar.
Maharashtra govt formation: A timeline of events
7.30 pm, Friday: After a meeting between leaders of the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena in Mumbai, Sharad Pawar says they have reached a consensus to make Uddhav Thackerey the chief minister.
9:30 pm, Friday: Devendra Fadnavis submits letter of support to Governer Bhagat Singh Koshyari
12:30 am: NCP leader Ajit Pawar submits letter proving support of 54 MLA’s to the Governor
12:30 am: Governor submits support letter to the President
5:47 am: President withdraws Governor’s rule in Maharashtra
(Note: The state had been under President’s rule since November 12, after the Governor informs the President Kovind that no party of alliance is able to form the government
8:00 am: Devendra Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar take oath as Chief Minister, Deputy CM respectively
8.16 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulates Fadnavis, Pawar. “I am confident they will work diligently for the bright future of Maharashtra,” he tweets.
8:30 am: After being sworn in, Fadnavis says Maharashtra needed a stable government. “The people had given us a clear mandate, but the Shiv Sena tried to ally with other parties. As a result, President’s rule was imposed in the state. Maharashtra needed a stable government not a ‘khichdi’ government,” Fadnavis said.
8:35 am: Ajit said he decided to support the BJP as the state was facing many problems, including farmer issues.
“The talks between the three parties was not ending and going on for a month. The demands that were being made were unreasonable. I realised that if such problems were being created now, how could we provide a stable government to the state which is the need of the hour. I took this decision to provide a stable government to Maharashtra,” Ajit said.
9:27 am: Sharad Pawar says Ajit Pawar’s decision was “personal”. Taking to Twitter, Sharad Pawar said: “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.”
9.39 am: Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala calls it a “betrayal of mandate, betrayal of democracy”.
9:52 am: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut calls it a crime that has been committed by the Raj Bhavan in the dead of the night. “Ajit Pawar was with us yesterday. His body language was suspicious. He then stepped out and his phone was switched off. We were told he was with his lawyer. In this case, Sharad Pawar is not involved. Had realised his intent when he had resigned as MLA before elections. He has stabbed the people of Maharashtra in the back and betrayed Sharad Pawar,” Raut said.
1.30 pm: Sharad Pawar along with Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray address a press conference in Mumbai. The leaders claimed they had the support of NCP MLAs, and it would be tough for the BJP to prove their majority on the floor of the legislative Assembly. They added that action will be taken against Ajit Pawar, as they warned other NCP MLAs of the anti-defection law.
Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray said, “Ajit Pawar’s decision is a breach of party discipline. Every MLA who is changing ship must know that there is an anti-defection law and the possibility of them losing their Assembly membership is high.”
1.40 pm: Congress holds press conference. Leaders Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and others are present. Alleging that Fadnavis was sworn in as the chief minister of Maharashtra in a “clandestine” manner, he said that it will be written in blank ink in the history of the state.
“There was neither band-baja (celebration) nor a procession as the chief minister was sworn-in in a clandestine manner…the incident will be written in black ink in Maharashtra’s history,” Patel said during his media briefing. He added that the list of MLAs submitted to the Governor by Ajit Pawar is “not verified” and dismissed charges on there being delay on the part of Congress to form government with Sena-NCP.
3.00 pm: BJP holds press conference in New Delhi where Ravi Shankar Prasad asserts that “the electoral and moral mandate was for Fadnavis government.” Dismissing criticism of the Saffron party’s alliance with NCP leader Ajit Pawar, Prasad said, the tie-up was guided by current circumstances. BJP hit out at the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena trio and said, those who were “dead opposed” to each other joined hands to “grab” power
4.00 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala holds a presser and says BJP is acting as a hitman on the Constitution of India. “It has become a new norm to trample the trust of the people as also seen in the Karnataka elections. Devendra Fadnavis promised to put Ajit Pawar in jail but has made him deputy CM now,” the Congress spokesperson said. Surjewala also took a dig at Governor Koshiyari and stated he was failing in his duty to guard the constitution.
4.15 pm: Devendra Fadnavis arrives at BJP Mumbai headquarters where he addresses a public gathering. “BJP is confident of providing a strong government in Maharashtra with the help of Ajit Pawar-led NCP. Narendra Modi hain to mumkin hai (If Modi is there, everything is possible),” Fadnavis says.
5:15 pm: Ajit Pawar holds meeting with NCP MLAs. Security was beefed up outside Ajit’s brother Sriniwas Pawar’s residence where the meeting is underway. NCP MP Sunil Tatkare and NCP MLAs Dilip Walse Patil and Hasan Mushrif are in attendance.
6:20 pm: Shiv Sena Supremo Uddhav Thackeray met with Sena MLAs at Lalit Hotel and left the premises. Sena moves SC and in its submission said that the Governor acted in a partisan manner.
“It is submitted that the Hon’ble Governor has acted in a partisan manner and has made a mockery of the high office of the Governor. It is respectfully submitted that the Governor’s actions between the intervening night of 22.11.2019 and 23.11.2019 culminating to the swearing in on the 23.11.2019 are a text book example of the Governor acting at the behest of a political party in power at the Centre,” the submission read.
7:45 pm: Ajit Pawar removed as NCP legislative party leader, Dilip Walse Patil replaces him.