Fadnavis bows out, Uddhav Thackeray to take oath as new CM

Uddhav Thackeray
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray gestures after he was chosen as the nominee for Maharashtra chief minister's post | PTI Photo

Maharashtra witnessed a packed political drama on Tuesday (November 26), with Devendra Fadnavis resigning four days after he took oath as chief minister and the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine formally naming Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as their new chief minister.

Hours after the Supreme Court ordered the Fadnavis government to prove its majority in the Maharashtra assembly by 5 pm on Wednesday, two resignations rocked the four-day-old BJP government. First came the resignation of NCP leader Ajit Pawar from the post of deputy chief minister, soon after which Fadnavis put in his papers.

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The developments came after Fadnavis was on early November 23 morning sworn in as the chief minister with Ajit as his deputy. Though Ajit claimed the support of the NCP MLAs, his uncle remained adamant on not supporting a BJP-led government and kept discussions on for forming an alliance with the Shiv Sena and the Congress.

Highlights of SC order
  • Governor to ensure that floor test be held on November 27.
  • Pro­tem Speaker shall be solely appointed for the aforesaid agenda immediately.
  • All elected members shall take oath on November 27, which should be completed before 5 pm.
  • Immediately thereafter, the Pro­tem Speaker shall conduct the floor test.
  • Floor test will not be conducted by secret ballot.
  • Proceedings have to be telecast live.
SC’s observations
  • Undemocratic and illegal practices within the political arena should be curtailed.
  • If floor test is delayed there is a possibility of horse trading.
  • Eight-weeks-time granted to Centre, others to file replies on the plea of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine against the Maharashtra governor’s decision to swear in Fadnavis as CM.

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The issue soon found itself before a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, with the three-party combine demanding an immediate floor test, asserting that the BJP does not have the numbers to prove majority in the House. The court on Tuesday directed the floor test by 5 pm on Wednesday.

Subsequently, Ajit vacated his post citing “personal reasons”, following which Sena leader Sanjay Raut claimed that the rebel NCP leader has returned to his uncle Sharad Pawar’s camp. Hours later, Devendra Fadnavis called for a media briefing where he announced his resignation, stating that the BJP doesn’t have majority. Subsequently, he handed over his resignation to Governor BS Koshyari.

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Fadnavis
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during a press conference in Mumbai | PTI Photo

During the media briefing, he also questioned the sustainability of the government which the three parties with varying ideologies are planning to form. Further hitting out at the Sena, its former ally, BJP said, “Those accusing the BJP of indulging in horse-trading have themselves purchased an entire stable.”

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

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Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray being greeted by NCP chief Sharad Pawar | PTI Photo

The resignations and the “return” of Ajit Pawar brought celebrations in the combine’s camp, where a resolution was passed on Tuesday evening to have Uddhav Thackeray as the chief minister. Uddhav, who would be the first member of his family to occupy the top post, said his government will not seek “revenge” against anyone.

“I will go to Delhi to meet my ‘elder brother’ after the government is formed,” Thackeray said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had called him “my younger brother” during campaign rallies.

Thackeray’s Sena and BJP had fought the polls together as allies but the two parties fell apart over the sharing of the CM’s post.

Meanwhile, asked whether the Prime Minister will be invited for the swearing-in ceremony, Sena leader Sanjay Raut replied in affirmative, adding, “We will even invite (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah ji.”

(With inputs from agencies)