Cong, NCP name Sena chief as leader of Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi; swearing-in on Nov 28
In an anti-climax to a month-long unprecedented political drama in Maharashtra, the BJP’s surreptitious effort to install its Government fizzled out on Tuesday afternoon as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis resigned from his post after the NCP’s rebel leader Ajit Pawar, the Deputy Chief Minister, pulled out of the new dispensation under tremendous pressure from his parent party.
Within hours after the Supreme Court put a break to a possible horse-trading by ordering a floor test in the State Assembly by 5 pm on Wednesday, Fadnavis’ 80-hour-long stint as the Chief Minister ended.
Things moved rapidly on the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance front, as the three parties and other allies, including Shetkari Swabhimani Sanghatana, Samajwadi Party and Peasants and Workers’ Party (PWP) — at the first joint legislature party meeting at the Hotel Trident in the evening — floated “Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi” (MKS), which they said was wedded to the principles enshrined in the preamble and provisions of the Constitution and would work for the welfare of the State and its people.
At the meeting, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray was elected as the leader of the MVA and elected as the Chief Minister-designate of the new Government to be installed in the State.
With Uddhav to lead Sena-Cong-NCP Government, the swearing-in will be held at Shivaji Park in Central Mumbai on November 28, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said.
After Sharad mooted the proposal, the NCP’s Legislature Party leader Jayant Patil moved a resolution nominating Uddhav as the Chief Minister-designate with Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Balasaheb Thorat seconding the proposal. The resolution was passed unanimously by the MLAs present at the meeting.
After the MVA meeting, the legislature party leaders of the Sena, the NCP and the Congress — Eknath Shinde, Jayant Patil and Balasaheb Thorat respectively — drove to Raj Bhavan at night, met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and submitted a formal letter, along with signatures of the supporting MLAs, seeking an invitation to form a Government under the leadership of Uddhav.
Congratulating Uddhav on his election as the Chief Minister-designate of the impending MVA Government, Sharad recalled his association with late Sena chief Bal Thackeray with whom — despite the political rivalry — he had personal relations. He expressed confidence that the Uddhav-led MVA Government would do justice to the people across the State.
Thanking Sharad, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, all legislators and leaders for reposing confidence in him and electing him, Uddhav said, “It is not three parties. It is our family. It is our Government. It is a Government of the common people.”
In a significant announcement, Uddhav said after taking over as the Chief Minister of the State, he would go to Delhi and meet Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It was speculated that NCP’s breakaway leader Ajit Pawar — who had earlier in the afternoon, resigned as the Deputy Chief Minister and returned to the parent party — would attend the MVA’s joint legislature party meeting, but he was not present there.
The NCP leaders attributed Ajit Pawar’s absence to his uneasiness and hesitation to be at the meeting, especially after the developments in the last few days.
Earlier, talking to media persons before handing over his resignation to the Governor, Fadnavis said he had decided to put in his papers, “after Ajit met him, expressed his inability to continue in the BJP-led Government and tendered his resignation to me”.
“At a time when there was uncertainty over the continuity or otherwise of President’s Rule in the State, NCP’s Legislature Party leader Ajit came forward and offered his cooperation to form a Government in the State. After a discussion, he handed me over a letter of support. Based on the letter of support we formed the Government,” Fadnavis said.
Fadnavis said “right from the day one” the BJP had been saying it would not “poach” MLAs from other parties or indulge in horse-trading. “We had formed the Government after the entire group of NCP MLAs had extended their support to us (through Ajit). After Ajit resigned, I also decided to put in my papers without indulging in any horse-trading. After this press conference, I will go to Raj Bhavan and hand over my resignation to the Governor”.
While extending his best wishes to the new three-party Government, Fadnavis said, “I am confident that the three parties will make a good effort to run the Government. But this Government will collapse under its own weight. This is because there are so many differences between them. … I saw yesterday Sena leaders were taking pledges in the name of Soniaji. I realised that these people can become so desperate for power. These people have come together with BJP hatao agenda only for the sake of power.”
“The three parties have not even drafted Common Minimum Programme (CMP). When they came together, all they had was Common Maximum Programme to keep the BJP out of power,” Fadnavis said, while comparing the three party-front to an auto rickshaw – three wheels of which are pulling the vehicle in different directions.
Fadnavis, who incidentally is the second longest serving Chief Minister of Maharashtra after Vasantrao Naik, became the shortest serving Chief Minister – of being in the office for just three days. Earlier, P K Sawant was the Chief Minister for nine days between November 25, 1963 and December 4, 1963.
Meanwhile, later on Tuesday afternoon, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari appointed Kalidas Kolamdakar was appointed as the Protem Speaker of Maharashtra Legislature Assembly.
Subsequently, the Governor administered the oath to Kolambhkar at a brief swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.
Kolambhkar will administer oath to 287 newly elected MLAs from 8 am on Wednesday.
Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta, Principal Secretary Law and Judiciary RP Ladda and Secretary Parliamentary Affairs and Vidhan Bhavan, Rajendra Bhagwat were present on the occasion.
Earlier in the afternoon, Congress leader and eight-time MLA Balasaheb Thorat was elected as the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) at a meeting of party MLAs held at the Hotel JW Marriot under the chairmanship of AICC general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge.
Wednesday, 27 November 2019 | TN RAGHUNATHA | Mumbai
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