Politics in Maharashtra has now taken another twist within 4 days of Chief Minister Devendra Fandavis and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar being sworn in on Saturday, November 24. Both Fadnavis and Pawar have now resigned from their posts on Tuesday after the Supreme Court earlier today ordered a floor test on the floor of the Assembly on Wednesday.
With a parade of its 162 MLAs, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Congress and the Shiv Sena seem to have forced the BJP to hit the brakes and pull the seat-eject lever. At a press conference, Devendra Fandavis threw in the towel, a few hours after Ajit Pawar gave up the go-it-alone ghost after NCP MLAs who had offered him support vanished like water vapour. Fadnavis said Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari had asked him to stay on as the caretaker CM till other arrangements were formalised. The outgoing CM blames the entire mess in the state at the feet of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his sudden ambition to become Chief Minister.
In light of the quicksilver movements, Koshyari has called the Assembly session tomorrow and the oath-taking is expected at 8 am on Wednesday. BJP Wadala MLA Kalidas Kolambkar has been chosen pro-tem speaker ahead of tomorrow’s session. Kolambkar has been elected MLA from Wadala 8 times, though he switched to the BJP from the Congress.
मुख्यमंत्री देवेंद्र फडणवीस का इश्तिफ़ा महाराष्ट्र की जनता की जीत है।
जय महाराष्ट्र ।@NCPspeaks
— Nawab Malik (@nawabmalikncp) November 26, 2019
Uddhav Thackeray is expected to be sworn in as the next Chief Minister of Maharashtra at Shivaji Park, the Shiv Sena’s stronghold. Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat and NCP leader Jayant Patil are set to become Deputy CMs. NCP leader Nawab Malik, who had spoken to the media extensively, tweeted an all-clear chit to the Shiv Sena that it was not a communal party. Though a very controversial statement, the beginnings of the Shiv Sena is entrenched in xenophobia while it adopted a more rabid Hindutva as the Ram temple movement gathered pace in the rest of the country. Malik’s statement is all the more strange since the Shiv Sena itself sees itself as a Hindutva party.
The new alliance, the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (Maharashtra Progressive Front/Alliance), which includes the Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena, are meeting, as this report is being filed, on which party gets what ministries and how many. Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut had said earlier today that Uddhav Thackeray will be chief minister for the next five years. Whether all are in agreement on this is being discussed.
In the Assembly elections held on October 21, the Shiv Sena and the BJP contested in an alliance, the Mahayuti, and won the most seats (BJP 105 and Shiv Sena 56). But the parties differed on the terms of their coming together, the Shiv Sena talking of a 50:50 formula whereby both parties were to have equal Cabinet berths and revolving the post of the chief minister every 2.5 years; the BJP refusing any talk of rotating chief ministership. The indecision of the NCP-Congress in vocally supporting the Shiv Sena saw the sudden drama that played out on TV screens on Saturday and leading to Ajit Pawar’s star turn.