Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who was controversially sworn-in on Saturday, resigned a few hours after the Supreme Court asked to prove his majority in the Assembly on Tuesday. The apex court ordered that Fadnavis government should prove majority before 5pm on Wednesday.
"We do not have the required number to prove majority," Fadnavis said while announcing his resignation at a press conference in Mumbai.
"The pre-poll alliance with Shiv Sena compromised on our chances of forming a government in Maharashtra. Had we contested separately we would have won a better mandate," he said.
NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress came together only to keep the BJP out of power, he added. Ajit Pawar, who took oath of office as deputy chief minister, also resigned on Tuesday.
Supreme Court orders floor test
In a relief to the Sena-NCP-Congress combine, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna had said on Tuesday that a floor test has to be conducted in Maharashtra before 5 pm on November 27. The bench also said the entire proceedings has to be telecast live.
The SC had requested the Governor to appoint a Protem Speaker to conduct the floor test on Wednesday. Voting in the assembly shall not be on the basis of secret ballot, it said. All the MLAs should be sworn in within the deadline set by the court.
The order was pronounced after a petition was filed by the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-Congress bloc against the hasty appointments of Devendra Fadnavis as the Maharashtra Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar as his deputy triggering a political upheaval in the state.
The petition, filed on Saturday evening, alleged that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had acted in haste to install the Fadnavis government, and in the process, scuttled the democratic norms.
End of BJP's game, said the NCP welcoming the Supreme Court's ruling. Meanwhile, Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said his party, the Sena and NCP are satisfied with SC order of floor test. Constitution has been respected on Constitution Day, he said.
On Sunday, a three-bench judge of Justices N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna heard arguments from the government, BJP and the three-party coalition. But the court delayed the order as it wanted to check two crucial letters – Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' claim to form the government and the subsequent invitation from the governor to take the oath – before making a final decision.
When the court reconvened on Monday, everyone expected that it would order a floor test to settle the dispute once and for all. But it reserved the order for Tuesday. Political analysts had expressed fears that the political uncertainty will encourage horse-trading of MLAs.
On Monday night, in an unprecedented action in Indian politics, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress bloc organised a public parade of their 162 supporting MLAs in a bid to disprove the claims of 170 legislators made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally Ajit Pawar.
Besides the enthusiastic 162 MLAs of the three 'Maha Vikas Aghadi' partners, top leaders of all three parties like Sharad Pawar, Supriya Sule, Praful Patel, Jayant Patil, Nawab Malik, Jitendra Awhad (all Nationalist Congress Party), Uddhav Thackeray, Aditya Thackeray, Eknath Shinde, and Sanjay Raut (all Shiv Sena), Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan, Balasaheb Thorat and Mallikarjuna Kharge (Congress) and others were present.
The leaders assured the gathered legislators - many of them first-timers, from some of the remotest parts of the state - that the three parties are in a full majority and they would soon give a stable alliance government in Maharashtra.
The Shiv Sena said it had submitted the signatures of 63 MLAs (including independents), while the Congress and the NCP claimed to have submitted signatures of 44 and 51 MLAs respectively.
The uncertainty in Maharashtra began with rifts in the pre-poll alliance between BJP and Shiv Sena. Though the combine won 161 seats – only 145 seats are required for a majority – it could not form a government because of the contest for chief minister's post.
Later, Shiv Sena allied with NCP and Congress and decided to stake claim to form the government. The three-party alliance has 154 members.
But the governor invited Fadnavis to form the government a day before the three-party alliance was set to stake claim to form the government triggering a political upheaval in the state.