Ajit trying to create confusion, no alliance with BJP: Sharad Pawar

Maharashtra LIVE updates: SC to verify letters of Fadnavis and Governor tomorrow,  political drama to continue
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar

The political drama in Maharashtra is likely to continue for one more day with the Supreme Court - which heard an urgent plea filed by Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP questioning the Governor's decision to invite BJP leader Devendra Fadnavid to form the government - deciding to verify letters written by governor and Fadnavis, before taking a final call.

Meanwhile, Ajit Pawar tweeted on Sunday evening that he was still with NCP and that the "BJP-NCP alliance" would provide a stable government in the state.

Reacting to this, NCP president Sharad Pawar said there was no question of an alliance with the BJP in Maharashtra.

"Shri Ajit Pawar's statement is false and misleading in order to create confusion and false perception among the people," Sharad Pawar tweeted.

On Sunday, the Supreme Court asked the solicitor general to produce Fadnavis' letter in which he had staked claim to form the government and the governor's invitation to Fadnavis to take oath of office.

SC to hear Sena-NCP-Congress plea on Maharashtra floor test
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP state president Chandrakanth Pattil during a celebration held at the Maharashtra BJP state office on Saturday. Photo: Vishnu V Nair

The Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna, took the decision after hearing an hour-long arguments from Shiv Sena's counsel Kapil Sibal, Congress-NCP counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi and BJP's counsel Mukul Rohtagi.

Sibal decried governor's decision to invite Fadnavis to form the government and urged the court to order immediate floor test. "If BJP has majority, let them prove it immediately," he told the court. He said that Shiv Sena's pre-poll alliance with BJP has been broken and the party is now relying on post-poll alliances with NCP and Congress. Sibal asked on what basis were the chief minister and deputy chief minister sworn in.

Singhvi too urged the court to conduct the floor test.

"A floor test is Constitutional obligation, and no formality is needed to order it," he urged the court and added: "If the Supreme Court orders a floor test all ambiguities related to the case will be removed."

He also referred to judgements in various cases including dismissal of Uttarakhand Cong government and said floor test was the ultimate test.

BJP counsel Rohtagi, meanwhile, argued that President or Governor shall not be answerable to any court.

Reacting to the apex court order, the BJP said the game is up for NCP-Congress-Sena alliance. Ajit Pawar can issue whip to NCP legislators, the BJP said according to PTI.

NCP said it is better for Devendra Fadnavis to quit on his own otherwise he will have to face defeat on floor of House during trust vote.

In a dramatic turn of events, Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday returned as chief minister propped up by NCP's Ajit Pawar, who was made his deputy, just hours after the new alliance of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress reached a consensus that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will be their chief ministerial candidate.

Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were sworn in by Governor Koshyari at a hush hush ceremony in Mumbai, leading to lifting of the President's rule in the state.

Ajit Pawar's volte face created fissures in the NCP, whose chief Sharad Pawar distanced himself from his nephew's dramatic action, saying the decision to back Fadnavis was his personal choice and not that of the party.

Sena-NCP-Cong combine has support of 165 MLAs: Raut

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday claimed the Sena-NCP-Congress combine has the support of 165 MLAs to prove majority in the Maharashtra Assembly, and said the BJP's "gamble" of breaking Ajit Pawar from the NCP will backfire.

Addressing reporters here, Raut alleged that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari allowed the new government (headed by BJP's Devendra Fadnavis) to be formed on the basis of "bogus" documents shown by Ajit Pawar.

He also said the deadline of November 30 given to the government to prove majority is only to enable defections.

"The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress (together) have 165 MLAs. If the governor calls for an identification parade, in 10 minutes we can prove our majority," Raut said.

He said Ajit Pawar made the "biggest mistake of his life" by betraying Sharad Pawar, a people's leader.

"Breaking Ajit Pawar from the NCP is the last gamble of the BJP which will backfire," the Rajya Sabha member said.

Ajit Pawar "misled" his party MLAs, he alleged, adding that and most of them had returned to the NCP fold.

Raut also said that November 23 was a "black Saturday" in the history of Maharashtra.

The BJP has no right to call the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi as 'black day', he said.

Maharashtra LIVE updates: SC to verify letters of Fadnavis and Governor tomorrow,  political drama to continue
Shiv Sena party Chief Uddhav Thackeray (C), his son MLA Aditya Thackeray (L) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar at a press conference in Mumbai on Saturday. Photo: Vishnu V Nair/Manorama

"If the BJP had majority, why was the swearing in done in such secrecy?" Raut asked, and said the governor acted in a "biased manner", giving enough time to the BJP.

"The Shiv Sena and NCP were given 24 hours and the BJP has been given time till November 30," he said.

Taking a dig at the BJP, Raut said, "I thought the BJP understands trade. The party thought Ajit Pawar can wean away 30 to 40 MLAs. But only five went. This must be Ajit Pawar's strength. If the trade was genuine, the BJP wouldn't be selling adulterated product."

Raut also said the BJP had harmed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image.

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