8:05 PM: Sanjay Raut arrives at Sharad Pawar's residence for meeting
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has arrived at the residence of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar for a meeting, reported
Meanwhile, Ahmed Patel has arrived in Mumbai to meet Congress MLAs
7:35 PM: Shiv Sena to shift MLAs to Hotel Lemon Tree, NCP to Hotel Hyatt
Shiv Sena has decided to shift its MLAs to Hotel Lemon Tree, which is located near the airport. Hotel Hyatt, where NCP MLAs are expected to be shifted, is also near the airport. According to
News18, this may be because of security, and also so that party leaders can address MLAs of both parties on Monday. 6:50 PM: Four MLAs with BJP, will definitely come back, says NCP's Nawab Malik
NCP leader Nawab Malik has struck a hopeful note and said, "Fifty MLAs are with us but not everyone is at the hotel. Four MLAs have been kept somewhere by BJP people. They are in constant touch with us and will definitely come back."
6: 25 PM: Maharashtra govt 'illegitimate', floor test needed, says Congress
Upping its ante on the "illegitimate" BJP-led Maharashtra government, the Congress on Sunday sought for immediate resignation of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Read more here. 6:00 PM: BJP trying to poach MLAs from other parties, says Ashok Chavan
5:55 PM: SC order has come as a blow to Sena, NCP and Congress: BJP's Ashish Shelar
5:40 PM: BJP accuses Sena of abandoning Bal Thackeray's thoughts
The BJP on Sunday accused its one-time ally Shiv Sena of committing the "sin" of abandoning its founder Bal Thackeray's thoughts of aligning with the BJP by joining hands with the Congress and the NCP.
Addressing a press conference after attending the BJP legislature party meeting here, senior party leader Ashish Shelar said they discussed a strategy to win the impending floor test comfortably.
"The Shiv Sena committed sin of abandoning Bal Thackeray's thoughts of aligning with the BJP," he said. Shelar also said that a meeting of Independent MLAs backing the BJP will be held separately.
5:17 PM: Sharad Pawar is our leader, says Ajit Pawar
4.50 PM: Uddhav heads to Hotel Lalit to meet Sena MLAs The Sena chief is on his way to meet party legislatures after meeting MLAs of NCP. 4:35 PM: “Our alliance will go a long way," Uddhav Thackeray on Sena-NCP alliance 4:20 PM: Will ensure a stable government in the state, says Ajit Pawar 4:00 PM: Fadnavis reaches BJP office for meeting of party legislators 3:15 PM: Congress Parliamentary Strategy Group to meet tomorrow at Sonia Gandhi's residence
The meeting is scheduled for the same day that the Supreme Court verdict on Maharashtra government is set to be announced.
2:45 PM: BJP's Ashish Shelar welcomes Supreme Court order
Welcoming the Supreme Court order in the writ petition by Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress, BJP's Ashish Shelar said that the allies have fallen flat on the face and that it has come up very clearly that the alliance's demand has not been accepted by the top court.
"All lawyers of Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena were pleading to Supreme Court that floor test needs to be done today. After seeing the proceedings and the order, it has been established that Supreme Court hasn't come to that conclusion. Their request has been rejected," he said.
2 :25 PM: Prithviraj Chauhan says BJP has no right to form govt
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chauhan thanked the apex court for hearing the plea on an off day. "BJP has no right to form the government. The decision will be taken only on the floor of the house. We hope the floor test takes soon," he said.
1: 40 PM: Sharad Pawar reaches Renaissance Hotel to meet 48 NCP MLAs 1:15 PM: SC rejects BJP's plea of granting three days to prove majority
Rohatgi bats for three days' time for the Bharatiya Janata Party to prove majority on the Floor of the House in Maharashtra. Supreme Court rejected the plea and told the party to come back with replies from all parties involved — the governor, deputy CM Ajit Pawar, and CM Devendra Fadnavis. Rohatgi in the Supreme Court argued that three days' time should be given for everyone to file replies. "They should have done their homework before disturbing the Court late night and disturbing us on Sunday."
Rohatgi told the court: "The House respects the Court, Court must respect the House. They are individual organs, there is self restraint. Tomorrow, can the legislature pass a legislation saying that the court must dispose of all cases in two years? The independence has to be respected, can't be breached. This petition is not maintainable and Mr Sibal is saying notice not necessary, pass exparte orders? What kind of argument is this?
12:55 PM: Supreme Court to decide on the timing of the floor test tomorrow After the letters are submitted tomorrow, t he Supreme Court will e xamine the governor's decision to anoint Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister. The apex court will also take a call on the timing of the floor test. Chief minister Fadnavis, and deputy CM Ajit Pawar will also respond tomorrow. 12:35 PM: Supreme Court to pass final judgement tomorrow at 10.30 am
Supreme Court has directed SG Tushar Mehta to produce two letters tomorrow. One by governor inviting the Bharatiya Janata Party to form government, and second the letter of support placed by Devendra Fadnavis tomorrow.
Appropriate orders will be passed by the Supreme Court at 10.30 am tomorrow.
12:30 PM: Mukul Rohatgi cites Article 361, says governor not subject to judicial review
"No doubt that the floor test is inevitable but the decision of the Governor are not subject to judicial review. When governor chooses the chief minister, it is not open to judicial review. It is his individual discretion, not guided by the Cabinet."
Rohatgi cites Article 361 — Protection of President and Governors and Rajpramukhs. "Action of governor immune under Article 361. Power of president or governor to appoint prime minister or chief minister is immune."
Justice Ramana: "These are all settled laws. The issue in the present case is regarding floor test."
“Governor is not a party. He’s not a party in the entire compilation. A floor test is a constitutional obligation of democracy. This does not require any notice or counter,” says Singhvi to SC.
12:10 PM: Floor test is a constitutional obligation of democracy: Singhvi to SC
Sibal says, "We don't know. Nobody knows. When was the approach made, what documents were submitted is not known. We are saying if they have majority let them prove it. If they don't, allow us to form the government." Sibal tells Justice Bhushan when asked about when was the letters submitted.
11:59 AM : There are no documents submitted, Sibal tells SC 11:50 AM: Governor's act is under direct instructions from a political party, says Sibal The senior lawyer also argued that unlike in Karnataka, there was not a letter asserting majority in this case. 11.30 AM: The hearing begins in the apex court
Supreme Court's three-judge bench of Justice NV Ramana, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, start hearing the joint plea of Shiv Sena, NCP & Congress against the decision of Maharashtra Governor inviting Devendra Fadnavis to form government yesterday.
Senior advocates AM Singhvi and Kapil Sibal to appear for petitioners. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to appear for the other side.
11:20 AM: NCP informs Guv of Ajit Pawar's replacement as legislature wing leader
NCP leader Jayant Patil went to the Raj Bhawan on Sunday with a letter to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to inform him about the replacement of Ajit Pawar as the legislature party leader. State NCP chief Jayant Patil will have all the constitutional rights till the next legislature party leader is elected, the party said.
10: 50 AM: We can prove majority in 10 minutes flat: Sanjay Raut Calling up Maharashtra Governor B.S. Koshyari to ask the newly-elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to prove his majority within 24 hours, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday said the Sena-NCP-Congress would prove their strength in just "10 minutes". 10:15 PM: SC to hear Sena-Congress-NCP plea on Maha floor test today
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a petition by Shiv Sena-Congress-National Congress Party seeking a floor test within 24 hours to avoid horse-trading and "illegal manoeuvres" in Maharashtra at 11.30 am on Sunday.
PM, BJP involved in murder of democracy: Congress
AICC General Secretary K.C. Venugopal said in a statement on Saturday that it was more than apparent that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders were directly involved in the "murder of democracy".
9: 51 PM: Sena-NCP-Cong plea in SC seeks quashing of Guv's decision to swear-in Fadnavis as CM; hearing on Sunday
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 apex court will hear the plea on Sunday at 11:30 am.
The three parties also sought a direction to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to invite them to form the 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 allowed himself to be a "pawn in the BJP's illegal usurpation of power".
8: 55 PM: Shiv Sena-NCP-Cong combine file plea in SC seeking quashing of Maha Guv's decision to swear-in Fadnavis as CM
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 the 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".
8: 50 PM: Jayant Patil new legislative party leader of NCP
After sacking Ajit Pawar, NCP on Saturday picked by Jayant Patil as the new legislative party leader and he will have all the constitutional rights till the next legislature party leader is elected.
8: 00 PM: Ajit Pawar sacked as NCP's legislature party leader
The NCP on Saturday removed Ajit Pawar as its legislature party leader after he joined hands with the BJP to form the government and took oath as the deputy chief minister of the state. "The decision to sack Ajit Pawar was taken at the meeting of the party's MLAs here," party sources said. NCP chief Sharad Pawar was present at the meeting.
Amidst confusion over the exact number of MLAs attending the swearing-in ceremony of NCP's Ajit Pawar as deputy chief minister of Maharashtra under
6: 04 PM: 7 NCP MLAs who attended Ajit's oath pledge loyalty to Sharad Pawar
Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday morning, at least seven legislators claimed to have returned to the party fold and pledged their loyalty to Sharad Pawar.
Ajit, the nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, crossed over to the BJP with some legislators and took oath as deputy of Devendra Fadnavis who sworn in as chief minister for a second term. Dilip Bankar and Manikrao Kokate, the MLAs from Nashik district, tweeted separately saying they were kept in dark about the oath-taking ceremony.
Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh on Saturday advised the Shiv Sena to "take to the streets" of Mumbai to protest against the formation of a new BJP-led
6: 03 PM: Shiv Sena should take to streets in Mumbai, says Digvijaya Singh
government in Maharashtra. He also claimed that NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who took oath as deputy chief minister along with CM Devendra Fadnavis, had joined the new government alone, and no other NCP MLA was with him.
The Sena "should hit the streets to protect the Constitution", Singh said. "This is a challenge before (Shiv Sena chief), Uddhav Thackeray, that he show the Shiv Sena's strength in Mumbai," Singh told reporters in Bhopal.
4: 28 PM: Rift within Pawar family helped BJP execute its Plan B
The BJP leadership seems to have cashed in on a long-standing feud within NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar's family by managing an overnight coup just as final contours of a coalition between the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena to form government in Maharashtra were emerging. The BJP leadership was quiet as the three parties were discussing their unlikely alliance all through last week, but apparently it had a Plan B, involving Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar, ready.
On Friday night, the Sena, Congress and NCP finalised nitty-gritty of government formation and were to meet again on Saturday and then approach the Governor. Congress general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters that Ajit Pawar was present at the meeting of the three parties at Nehru Centre here on Friday evening.
BJP working president J P Nadda on Saturday congratulated the people of Maharashtra after his party formed a government there under Devendra
5: 04 PM: Sign of mature democracy: BJP's JP Nadda on Maharashtra development
Fadnavis. "A stable government will be formed under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra and I should congratulate people of Maharashtra . It is sign of mature democracy," he said.
In a tweet, Nadda said, "I Congratulate @Dev_Fadnavis Ji and @AjitPawarSpeaks Ji on taking oath as the CM and Deputy CM of Maharashtra respectively. I am sure that under the guidance of Hon PM @narendramodi Ji, BJP-NCP Gov will take Maharashtra to newer heights."
4: 55 PM: Maharashtra developments opportunist politics, says H D Kumaraswamy
Former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Saturday termed the ongoing developments in Maharashtra as opportunist politics and said no one in country's politics, including him, has morality left in them and can discuss about it.
During the recently concluded Maharashtra polls, NCP had continuously fought against the BJP, Kumaraswamy pointed out. "Government is being formed with the NCP that had worked against the BJP. No one in this country's politics have morality left in them and no one can discuss about morality, including me, he said.
4: 54 PM: BJP formed govt in Maha with support of 170 MLAs: Sudhir Mungantiwar
The BJP in Maharashtra has the support of 170 MLAs in the 288-member House, senior party leader Sudhir Mungantiwar claimed in Chandrapur on Saturday, which was marked by NCP leader Ajit Pawar's coup that saw Devendra Fadnavis taking oath as chief minister for a second term.
Mungantiwar said the BJP would provide a stable and performing government. "Ajit Pawar is the NCP legislature party leader and it means everyone has given support to the BJP", Mungantiwar said amidst confusion over the exact number of MLAs of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supporting the fledgling government.
4: 36 PM: BJP 'contract killer' of democracy: Congress
Slamming the new government in Maharashtra as "illegitimate", the Congress on Saturday termed the swearing-in of BJP's Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister a black chapter in India's democracy and alleged that the state governor did not make effort to verify his claims of having the support of a majority of MLAs.
Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the BJP "scared" an "opportunist" Ajit Pawar, the NCP leader who has joined hands with the saffron party and acted as "contract killer" of democracy. Fadnavis had promised to put Ajit Pawar in jail but has made him deputy chief minister now, he said.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Saturday that "anything can happen in cricket and politics", and expressed confidence that the new BJP-led
4: 18 PM: Anything can happen in cricket and politics: Nitin Gadkari
government in Maharashtra will pass the floor test.
Speaking to the media in Nagpur, the senior BJP leader, asked for his reaction to the dramatic developments, said, "As I had commented earlier, anything can happen in cricket and politics. Now you would have understood the importance of my statement. "I congratulate Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar. They will prove the majority in the house in the period given by the governor," Gadkari said.
Union minister Giriraj Singh defended BJP's decision to form government in Maharashtra, claiming that Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray had once
4: 17 PM: Balasaheb had said party with majority gets CM's post: Giriraj Singh
said that a party with majority gets the chief minister's post.
"The country has seen that the BJP won 105 seats (in Maharashtra). Balasaheb Thackeray had said that in a democracy a party with majority gets the post of the chief minister," the Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries told reporters. "We respect Balasaheb Thackeray and democracy," he added.
3: 53 PM: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot condemns political developments in Maharashtra
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday condemned political developments in Maharashtra and demanded the resignation of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on "moral grounds", asserting that he acted in connivance with the BJP to make Devendra Fadnavis chief minister.
“The details emerging from Maharashtra are shocking and show that the governor acted in connivance with the BJP and administered the oath of office to Devendra Fadnavis without verifying signatures of NCP MLAs,” Gehlot said. “Governor must resign on moral grounds. He has no right to remain in office,” he said while questioning the morality of revocation of president's rule in Maharashtra.
3: 47 PM: We have electoral, moral mandate to form govt in Maharashtra: BJP
The BJP asserted on Saturday that it had the "electoral and moral" mandate to form 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 current circumstances.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union 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.
3: 27 PM: Prerogative of governor: Rajnath Rajnath on Maharashtra govt formation
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said it was the prerogative of the governor to invite a party to form a government. The comments came after BJP's Devendra Fadnavis and NCP leader Ajit Pawar took oath as the Maharashtra chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively on Saturday.
The unexpected development took place a day after Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray emerged as the Sena-NCP-Congress' consensus candidate for the top post. "At this point of time in this programme, I do not wish to make any political statement. It was the prerogative of the governor," Singh said at an event in Lucknow.
3:25 PM: Ajit Pawar purified with BJP's 'Ganga Jal' overnight: G A Mir
Jammu and Kashmir Congress president G A Mir on Saturday took a jibe at the BJP over the political developments in Maharashtra and said the BJP "purified" NCP's Ajit Pawar with its "Ganga jal" overnight after levelling serious corruption allegations against him. He also criticised the role of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and said the country is facing "constitutional crisis" under the BJP which can go to any extent to form a government.
2: 48 PM: Ajit Pawar blackmailed into joining hands with BJP: Raut
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday claimed that NCP's Ajit Pawar was "blackmailed" into joining hands with the BJP to form government in Maharashtra. He said Ajit Pawar might return to the NCP fold.
"NCP leader Dhananjay Munde has been contacted. Ajit Pawar may also return (to NCP fold). We have information how Ajit Pawar has been blackmailed and will expose this soon," Raut told reporters. Munde, who is said to have been in touch with Fadnavis since the last few days, had gone incommunicado. He is said to be supporting Ajit Pawar.
The "clandestine" manner in which Devendra Fadnavis was sworn-in as the chief minister of Maharashtra will be written in black ink in the history of the
2: 27 PM: Clandestine swearing-in of Fadnavis black day for Maharashtra: Ahmed Patel
state, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said on Saturday. He also accused the BJP of crossing the limits of "shamelessness", adding democracy stands "shattered" after the saffrom party formed the government by joining hands with NCP president Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar.
Patel recalled that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had not invited the Congress to stake claim to form the government in the state after the BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP were asked to do so earlier this month. "There was neither band-baja (celebration) nor a procession as the chief minister was sworn-in in a clandestine manner...the incident will be written in black ink in Maharashtra's history," Patel told reporters in Mumbai.
1: 58 PM: Manohar Lal Khattar congratulates Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar on being sworn-in as Maha CM, Dy CM
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar congratulated Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar for taking oath as the chief minister and deputy chief minister of Maharashtra respectively on Saturday and said the state will touch new heights of development under their leadership.
Khattar congratulated Fadnavis on taking oath as the Maharashtra chief minister for the second term. He also congratulated Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) Ajit Pawar for being sworn-in as the deputy chief minister of the state. "I firmly believe that under your leadership Maharashtra will touch new heights of development," he said in a tweet.
1: 53 PM: What happened is unconstitutional: Yashomati Thakur on govt formation
Hours after NCP leader Ajit Pawar joined hands with the BJP to form government in Maharashtra, Congress leader Yashomati Thakur said what happened was "unconstitutional" and "misuse of power".NCP chief Sharad Pawar has already said Ajit's decision was his "personal and not the party's". "What has happened is unconstitutional. It is the misuse
of power," Thakur told reporters here, attacking the BJP. Meanwhile, NCP workers raised slogans against Ajit as they rallied behind Sharad Pawar.
1: 34 PM: Maharashtra govt formation undemocratic, mandate of people disrespected: AAP
The Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday said the formation of government in Maharashtra was "undemocratic" and it "disrespected" the mandate of people of the state. Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh questioned how the government formation was done in Maharashtra without even getting the majority.
1: 15 PM: Governor again proved to be Amit Shah's 'hitman', says Congress
Hitting out at Devendra Fadnavis being sworn-in as the Maharashtra chief minister, the Congress on Saturday alleged that the governor was once again proved to be BJP chief Amit Shah's "hitman" while asserting that the "illegitimate" government formation will self-destruct. The month-long political impasse in Maharashtra ended dramatically on Saturday with the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Fadnavis returning as the chief minister, backed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
In a series of tweets, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala hit out at the BJP, accusing it of taking a "contract to kill" democracy in India. "It has been proven that the BJP has taken a contract to kill the country's democracy. The Governor has once again proved to be (BJP chief Amit) Shah's 'hitman'," he said in one of the tweets.
1: 12 PM: We all faced the same story. Our blood pressure shot up after what we saw in Raj Bhavan, says NCP MLA Vikram Dhusar. 1: 11 PM: You heard what all happened to us. Ajit Pawar called us in the morning. We have decided that we will be with Sharad Pawar, says MLA Beed Sandeep Kshirsagar. 1: 10 PM: Can't rule out cheating of Maharashtra governor BS Koshiyari; Ajit Pawar may have submitted 'ready-made' list of NCP MLAs: Sharad Pawar. 1: 06 PM: This is a surgical strike on Maharashtra and people will avenge it: Uddhav Thackeray on Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister. 1: 04 PM: Decision on (replacement of Ajit Pawar as) NCP legislature party leader to be taken at party meet: Sharad Pawar. 1: 03 PM: Nationalist Congress Party Chief, Sharad Pawar said that today a new NCP legislative party leader will be elected in Mumbai at 4:00 pm. 12:56 PM: NCP MLAs who support BJP should know this move attracts provisions of anti-defection law, says Sharad Pawar. 12: 55 PM: AIADMK greets Devendra Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar on Maharashtra government formation
The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu on Saturday greeted BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and NCP's Ajit Pawar for taking over as Chief Minister and Deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, respectively, early in the day. While Chief Minister K Palaniswami lauded his Maharashtra counterpart Fadnavis, his deputy O Panneerselvam extended greetings to the two leaders on Twitter.
Panneerselvam is AIADMK Coordinator while Palaniswami is the Co-Coordinator. In a letter greeting Fadnavis, Palaniswami said: "I congratulate you on your assumption as the chief minister of Maharashtra." "I convey my best wishes to you for a successful tenure," he added.
12:54 PM: Ajit Pawar's decision act of indiscipline; no NCP worker in favour of NCP-BJP government, says Sharad Pawar. 12:52 PM: NCP MLAs at Pawar press conference say they were taken to Raj Bhavan but didn't know it was for the swearing-in ceremony. 12: 48 PM: Shiv Sena betrayed people by siding with corrupt Congress: Prakash Javadekar
Congratulating Devendra Fadnavis on becoming the chief minister of Maharashtra once again, Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said the Shiv Sena betrayed the people of the state by deciding to go with the Congress, which was "synonymous with corruption". He also said that despite the Congress being against the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, the Sena decided to join hands with it.
Fadnavis took oath as the chief minister of Maharashtra and Ajit Pawar of the NCP as his deputy on Saturday morning. The development raised eyebrows in the political circles as the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress were holding talks over the last few days to form a government in the state. NCP president Sharad Pawar had even announced that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was the three parties' consensus choice for the top post.
BJP's Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday returned as Maharashtra chief minister, propped by NCP's Ajit Pawar, who took oath as deputy chief minister, even as NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the decision to side with Fadnavis was his nephew's personal choice and not that of the party.
Not many had an inkling of the early morning swearing-in ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan, which some called a "clandestine" affair, a far cry from Fadnavis' first such ceremony in 2014 in the packed Wankhede Stadium in presence of thousands of supporters.
Also read: Amit Shah, the undisputed 'Chanakya' of Indian Politics
The oath-taking was held soon after the President's rule, imposed on November 12, was revoked. President Ram Nath Kovind signed the proclamation for revocation of the central rule and a gazette notification to this effect was issued at 5.47 am.
The swearing-in ceremony came as a political shocker, hours after Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray emerged as the Sena-NCP-Congress' consensus candidate for the top post.
Also read: Maharashtra Government Formation: 'Party and family split,' Supriya Sule's Whatsapp status confirms split within NCP
Sharad Pawar said it was his nephew Ajit Pawar's own decision, and not that of the party, to support the BJP to form the government. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut accused Ajit Pawar of stabbing people of Maharashtra in the back by deciding to join hands with the BJP. The month-long political impasse ended dramatically with Fadnavis returning as the CM.
Pawar had on Friday night said the new government would be led by Uddhav Thackeray. The three parties had even prepared a draft common minimum programme to guide the actions of the new government.
Also read: Maharashtra Government Formation: The 50-minute Modi-Pawar meeting that proved crucial
After the oath-taking ceremony, Sharad Pawar tweeted: "Ajit Pawar's decision to support the BJP to form the government is his personal decision and not that of the NCP. We place on record that we do not support or endorse his decision."
The BJP and the Sena, which fought the assembly polls in an alliance, had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively in the 288-member House. The Sena broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister's post. The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats respectively.
(With Agency Inputs)