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Maharashtra politics: All eyes on 13 Independents, 16 smaller party MLAs

By PTI Updated: Nov 24, 2019 10:42 pm

Mumbai, Nov. 24 (PTI): While major political parties in Maharashtra are slugging it out to form a government amidst twists and turns, all eyes are now on which way 13 Independents and 16 MLAs from smaller parties will swing in the quest to achieve the 145-mark in the 288-member House in floor test.

The Shiv Sena, which is in talks with the Congress-NCP to form a government sans one-time ally BJP, claims to have the support of seven MLAs apart from its own flock of 56.

The BJP, which emerged the largest party in the October 21 Assembly polls with 105 seats, claims to have the support of 14 more MLAs, taking its tally effectively to 119.

It is not certain how many MLAs, if any, are backing NCP leader Ajit Pawar who joined hands with the BJP on Saturday and took oath as deputy chief minister in the BJP-led government under chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Achalpur MLA and Prahar Janshakti Party (PJP) chief Bacchu Kadu, who had given the Sena a letter of support several days ago, on Sunday told PTI that he and his two legislator colleagues will continue to back the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.

Krantikari Shetkari Paksh (KSP) MLA Shankarrao Gadakh has also given a letter of support to the Sena, which has also managed to garner backing of Ashish Jaiswal (Ramtek), Narendra Bhondekar (Bhandara), Manila Gavit (Sakri) and Chandrakant Patil (Muktainagar).

The MLAs supporting the BJP comprise Independents Ravi Rana (Badnera), Kishore Jorgewar (Chandrapur), Geeta Jain (Mira Bhayander), Mahesh Baldi (Uran), Sanjay Shinde (Karmala), Rajendra Raut (Barshi), Pakash Awade (Ichalkaranji), and Rajendra Patil (Shirol).

The BJP also claims the support of PWP MLA Shyamsunder Shinde (Loha), Rashtriya Samaj Paksh’s Ratnakar Gutte from Gangakhed, Rajesh Patil from Bhoisar, Kshitij Thakur from Nalasopara, Hitendra Thakur from Vasai, all from the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), and Jan Surajya Shakti Party’s Shahuwadi MLA Vinayak Kore.

Others in the Assembly include the AIMIM and Samajwadi Party with two MLAs each, and the CPM, MNS, RSP and Swabhimani Paksh with one MLA each.

In the polls, results of which were declared on October 24, the BJP got 105 seats, followed by the Sena with 56, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44.

Earlier in the day, the supreme court said the issue of floor test, demanded by the Congress-NCP-Sena combine, would be dealt with on Monday only after perusing the two letters- of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari inviting Fadnavis and of the BJP leader staking his claim to form the government- it has demanded.

For their parts, the BJP and the opposition combine have claimed that they have the requisite numbers and would win the floor test comfortably.

According to unconfirmed reports and claims made by the NCP, the governor had asked the BJP to prove numbers by November 30.

Sena-NCP-Cong combine in SC seeks immediate floor test for Fadnavis government 

The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine on Sunday told the Supreme Court that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should be directed to prove majority today itself or they be given an opportunity to form the government led by Uddhav Thackeray

The combine claimed that they have the numbers to prove a majority in the House and that the governor’s decision to invite Fadnavis was “unconstitutional” and “mala fide”.

The post-poll alliance also questioned the manner in which President’s rule was revoked at 5.17 am on the recommendation of the governor.

A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana said the petitioners have not challenged the withdrawal of the proclamation in their plea.

The bench, also comprising justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna, was told by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Sena, that “the only thing the court can now do” is order for a floor test.

“If they believe they have the support of the House, they must be directed to prove it today itself. If they have the numbers they must prove it or allow us to prove the majority,” Sibal said, while maintaining that the combine has the support of 145 MLAs, which is the magic number in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly .

Detailing the sequence of events, Sibal said that the pre-poll alliance of BJP-Shiv Sena broke down after the declaration of election result and the current situation involves a post-poll alliance of three parties Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress which were holding deliberation on government formations.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the NCP and the Congress, contended that a governor, before inviting anybody to form government, is obliged to satisfy himself on three grounds — satisfaction based on written documents, written documents with signatures of MLAs and their physical verification.

He said that the NCP had held a meeting yesterday at 3.30 pm in which Ajit Pawar was removed as the legislative party leader and a resolution was signed by 41 MLAs.

While insisting on immediate floor test, Singhvi referred to an earlier apex court verdict and said it was necessary to prevent horse trading.

The top court asked the Centre to place before it on Monday morning the letters of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari inviting Fadnavis and of the BJP leader staking his claim to form the government in the state.

In an unprecedented hearing on a Sunday, the apex court, however, did not grant any interim relief to the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress combine to direct the Fadnavis government to undertake floor test within 24 hours and rather said that this issue would be dealt with only after perusing the two letters on Monday.

By PTI Updated: Nov 24, 2019 10:42:47 pm