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Overnight coup to form govt. proves to be failed gambit for BJP

By PTI Updated: Nov 26, 2019 11:53 pm

New Delhi, Nov. 26 (PTI): The overnight coup that installed Devendra Fadnavis as Maharashtra chief minister has turned out to be a failed BJP gambit to capture power, uniting its rivals in the wake and exposing it to the charge of abusing constitutional positions and joining hands with a tainted figure to form the government.

Hopes in the saffron camp about the chance of Fadnavis proving majority had begun fading after a majority of NCP MLAs rallied around its president Sharad Pawar on the very day the BJP leader was sworn-in at a hurried ceremony, and the Supreme Court’s Tuesday order for the trust vote on Wednesday dashed them altogether.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held deliberations with BJP president Amit Shah and party’s working president J P Nadda at his office in Parliament over the options before the party in Maharashtra.

Hours later, Fadnavis resigned.

The BJP had believed that the defection of Ajit Pawar, who was the NCP legislature party leader before his removal on Saturday, to its camp followed by his swearing-in as the deputy chief minister will help it draw enough MLAs to gain a simple majority in the 288-member assembly.

That the Fadnavis government in its 2014-19 term had launched probe into Ajit Pawar’s alleged corruption when he was the deputy chief minister in 2009-14 Congress-NCP government and often attacked over the issue, was conveniently forgotten by the BJP, critics said.

However, another rearguard fight by Sharad Pawar meant that even the few of the 54 NCP MLAs, who had joined the swearing-in ceremony, began deserting Ajit Pawar one by one.

The BJP has rejected the criticism over its decision to form government despite lacking numbers, with its spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao saying it had done so in “good faith” after being assured of the NCP’s support by Ajit Pawar.

After Ajit Pawar put in his papers earlier in the day, Fadnavis also resigned, the party pointed out.

However, political watchers believe that there is little denying the loss of face the party has suffered in its bid to rule India’s richest state.

The BJP under Modi and Shah has never shied away from taking a shot at power whenever opportunity, at times engineered, has presented itself.

After emerging as the single largest party in Karnataka in the 2018 assembly polls but falling short of a majority, the BJP formed government but B S Yediyurappa resigned during the vote of confidence as rivals Congress and JD(S) joined hands.

The Congress and JD(S) government soon fell after many MLAs of the two parties quit, reducing it to a minority. All of them joined the BJP later.


Maha governor convenes special session

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has called a special session of the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday where floor test will be conducted after the pro-tem speaker administers oath to the 288 newly-elected members, an official said on Tuesday.

The oath will be administered by newly-appointed pro-tem speaker Kalidas Kolambkar at the session, which will begin at 8 am.

Kolambkar was appointed by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Tuesday evening on directions of the Supreme Court which ordered a floor test on Wednesday.

“Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has called a special session of the legislative assembly on Wednesday. The session would begin at 8am for the oath-taking ceremony of the 288 members. Following the oath, the pro-tem speaker will call for a floor test,” the official said.

The newly-elected members couldn’t take oath even one month after the results of the assembly polls were announced, due to political up and downs in the state.


Uddhav to lead Sena-Cong-NCP government, swearing-in on Dec. 1

The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance on Tuesday evening announced Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray as their nominee for the Maharashtra chief minister’s post.

The swearing-in will be held at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai on December 1, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said.

Uddhav Thackeray, who would be the first member of his family to occupy the top political 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.

The decision to elect Thackeray as nominee for CM’s post was taken at a joint meeting of the three parties at a suburban hotel here, hours after the four-day-old BJP government led by Devendra Fadnavis and supported by NCP’s Ajit Pawar collapsed.

Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil proposed Thackeray’s name as “the (next) chief minister”. State Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat seconded the proposal.

The meeting was attended by Sharad Pawar, senior party leader Praful Patel, Congress leader Ashok Chavan, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana’s Raju Shetti, Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azmi, MLAs of all these parties and others.

Speaking at the meeting, Thackeray evoked memories of his father and late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.

He also thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“I want to thank Sonia ji also. Parties with different ideologies have come together…those who were friends for 30 years, did not trust us. But those against whom we fought for 30 years have trusted me,” Thackeray said.

Common people should think of this government as their own, he said.

“The fight is not personal…my government will not work in a vindictive way,” Thackeray said.

Without naming the former ally BJP with whom the Sena had a bitter falling out after contesting the October 21 assembly elections together, Thackeray said he would not align with those who speak lies.

Sharad Pawar said Thackeray’s swearing-in ceremony will take place at Shivaji Park on December 1.

Speaking on the occasion, Pawar eulogised Bal Thackeray, his bitter adversary in politics but a dear friend in personal life.

The three parties named their alliance as ‘Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi’.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Fadnavis resigned, barely 80 hours after taking oath for the second time, a move triggered by his deputy Ajit Pawar’s resignation citing “personal reasons”.

Fadnavis was sworn in on November 23 in an early morning hush-hush ceremony, with the support of Ajit Pawar, who then headed the 54-member NCP legislature party.

Ajit was not seen at the joint meeting of the three parties on Tuesday evening.

By PTI Updated: Nov 26, 2019 11:53:48 pm