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Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress file plea in SC seeking quashing of Maha gov’s decision to swear-in Fadnavis as CM

By PTI Updated: Nov 23, 2019 10:42 pm
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala with Senior advocate Devadatt Kamat speaks to media at Supreme Court on the issue of Maharashtra government formation, in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Nov. 23 (PTI): The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine on Saturday night filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the Maharashtra governor’s decision to swear-in BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister and demanded an immediate floor test to avoid “further horse trading”.

The three parties also sought a direction to the governor to invite them to form government under the leadership of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray saying they have the support of more than 144 MLAs.

The petitioners alleged that the governor has acted in a “partisan manner” and has allowed himself to be a “pawn in the BJP’s illegal usurpation of power”.

The parties further prayed for an “immediate floor test within 24 hours so as to avoid further horse trading and illegal maneuvers to somehow cobble up a majority from the MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi)”.

Their lawyer Sunil Fernandes said the petition has been filed with registry and a formal listing of the plea for hearing is awaited.

We have electoral, moral mandate to form govt in Maharashtra – BJP

The BJP on Saturday asserted that it had the “electoral and moral” mandate to form a government in Maharashtra and brushed aside the criticism of its alliance with NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who was accused by the saffron party in the past of corruption, saying the tie-up was guided by the “given situation”.

BJP leader and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at the Congress-NCP and the Shiv Sena, saying those who were “dead opposed” to each other joined hands to “grab” power, while the saffron party and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had won the popular mandate to form government.

Addressing a press conference here, he said Fadnavis will give a stable, honest and effective government to the state.

The law minister said Maharashtra governor took the decision to swear-in Fadnavis and Pawar as the chief minister and the deputy chief minister after both leaders, as the heads of their respective legislative parties, gave the letters of support of their MLAs.

The governor had no counter-claim by any other party or alliance, he said.

Prasad expressed confidence that the BJP-led government enjoys the support of a majority of MLAs but did not put numbers to that, saying the floor of the Assembly is the proper place for this and an “effective majority” will be proven.

Hitting back at the Congress over its allegation of “murder of democracy” against the BJP, he said wryly that if the Sena sacrifices its principles to ally with the Congress, then this is a “respect” for democracy but if the BJP works for a stable government and is supported by a big section of the NCP, then this is against it.

He said leaders of the Congress as well as the NCP had said earlier that the mandate was for them to sit in opposition but they then got into “match-fixing” to grab power.Asked about the BJP allying with Ajit Pawar, he said a decision was taken “given the situation” as a big like Maharashtra needs to have a stable government.

Pawar has often been accused of corruption by the BJP in the past.

Prasad said the rival parties were in a conspiracy to control India’s “financial capital” (Mumbai) through back door, underlining the import of controlling power in resource-rich Maharashtra to influence national politics.

To the opposition’s contention if the Union Cabinet had met to revoke the President’s rule in the state, he said the prime minister has got certain power under Rule 12 of Government of India (transaction of business) rules and there is procedure for the Cabinet to give ex-facto approval to a decision.

Asked about claims of NCP president Sharad Pawar that a majority of the party’s MLAs are with him, Prasad said he will not comment on its internal matter.

In separate comments, BJP leader and Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said “sixer of people’s mandate” has defeated “fixers”.

Speaking to reporters, Naqvi said Fadnavis will give a stable, honest and effective government to the state.

‘Black chapter’ in India’s history, BJP ‘contract killer’ of democracy —Cong

The Congress on Saturday termed the swearing in of Devendra Fadnavis as Maharashtra chief minister a “black chapter” in India’s history and asserted that the BJP acted as a “contract killer” of democracy by forming an “illegitimate” government in the state.

The opposition party also exuded confidence that a government of the Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena will be formed in the state.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the governor once again proved to be BJP chief Amit Shah’s “hitman”.

He alleged an “opportunist” Ajit Pawar, the NCP leader who has joined hands with the saffron party, was “scared” by the BJP of being put behind bars.

“The BJP and Ajit Pawar have acted like Duryodhan and Shakuni to rip off and cheat a democratic mandate given by the people of Maharashtra. They have actually betrayed the people,” Surjewala said.

The Congress will fight against this “subversion of the Constitution” both legally and on the floor of House by defeating the confidence motion, he said.

At a press conference in Mumbai, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said the “clandestine” manner in which Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister and NCP’s Ajit Pawar his deputy will be written in black ink in the state’s history.

The senior Congress leaders were in Mumbai to hold talks with the Sena and the NCP to finalise details of government formation.

Patel accused the BJP of crossing the limits of “shamelessness” and “shattering” democracy after the Amit Shah-led party formed the government due to a coup by NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar.

He, however, said the Sena-Congress-NCP combine will defeat the BJP during the floor test, and the alliance of the three parties will form the government.

The three parties will fight the situation on both the political and the legal fronts, said Patel, who has been at the forefront of the Congress, NCP and Sena negotiations.

Asked if the Congress MLAs will be shifted somewhere else to see they not poached ahead of the floor test, Patel said the parties will work out a strategy.

“There was neither band-baja (celebration) nor a procession as the chief minister, the deputy chief minister were sworn-in in a clandestine manner…the incident will be written in black ink in Maharashtra’s history,” Patel told reporters.

By PTI Updated: Nov 23, 2019 10:42:31 pm