BJP Bites Dust In Maharashtra Amid Power Tussle, Coup, Crumbling Alliance
Devendra Fadnavis resigned as the Maharashtra chief minister hours after NCP’s Ajit Pawar withdrew his support to the BJP. Pawar stepped down as the deputy chief minister saying it is difficult to be in alliance with the BJP.
The development comes after the Supreme Court’s order asking Fadnavis to prove his majority on November 27. But on Monday, 160 MLAs from Shiv Sena, Congress, and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) promised to stay loyal to their respective parties putting a full stop on suspected horse-trading.
Story So Far
The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order till 10:30 am on Tuesday while hearing a plea filed by Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party- Congress challenging Governor’s decision to swear in Fadnavis as the Chief Minister.
On Saturday, Novemeber 23, President’s rule was revoked at 5.47 am and Bhartiya Janata Party’s Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the chief minister while NCP’s Ajit Pawar as the deputy chief minister of the state.
The BJP in defence of CM Fadnavis claimed that the CM has the support of 170 MLAs (including independent MLAs) and that how they convinced Governor to allow government formation in the state. The SC has with-held the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress’s request for an immediate floor test.
The convoluted unwinding of politics in Maharashtra has left the citizens befuddled and made psephologist follow the state’s politics more closely than ever.
The overnight alliance of BJP-NCP emerged after the coalition talks between NCP, Congress, and Shiv Sena came to the final stage on Friday evening. Keeping aside their political ideologies it was decided that Sena chief Uddhav Thakeray will serve as the chief minister of the state for five years.
The BJP along with Shiv Sena, fought the Maharashtra Assembly election held on October 21 this year. Both parties came together on the agenda of Hindutva in 1989. The coalition lasted until 2014 when both of them fought independently but came together post-election to form the government in the state.
After the result was declared on October 24, 2019, BJP won 105 seats, Shiv Sena – 56, NCP – 54, and Congress – 44. The BJP and Shiv Sena coalition got the mandate to form the government together with 161 seats way more than the majority mark of 145. Congress and NCP were supposed to sit in the opposition.
However, the events which unfolded later gave Congress and NCP a chance to get into power. Going out of the pre-election talks, Shiv Sena demanded chief ministerial post. When the BJP slammed the demand, Sena came up with a 50-50 formula for the CM’s chair.
Sena demanded that the CM’s chair be shared between the two parties for two and a half years each. But the BJP reverted the proposal, sending a strong message to its allies in the other states that it will not share the CM’s chair.
The Shiv Sena claimed that the 50-50 formula was always on the table and the BJP accepted it during the pre-election talks. The conflict between the two has thrown the state in limbo for more than a month with issues such as PMC bank fraud and farmers’ suicide still waiting to be addressed.
After the election result was declared, the Governor called the single largest party to stake the claim. With no support from Sena, BJP failed to form the government. Two days later, Shiv Sena was invited to form the government. However, Sena failed to cobble up the minimum number and expressed its dissatisfaction after the Governor rejected its request for three days to submit the letters of support.
As parties failed to stake a claim, President’s rule was imposed in Maharashtra on November 12 for the next six months.
With talks reaching deadlock with BJP, Sena extended its hand to NCP and Congress. NCP was on board after putting certain demands, but interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi was reluctant to go with Shiv Sena considering the later’s ideology. After fervent convincing by Sharad Pawar, the Congress agreed to the “Maha” Gath Bandhan.
Meanwhile, BJP removed Shiv Sena from the NDA. Both the parties lacerated each other on moral grounds.
After several meetings, Congress, NCP, and Shiv Sena unanimously picked Uddhav Thackeray for CM’s post on the night of November 22.
A Modern Day Coup?
On November 23 historic turn of events rocked Maharashtra politics, as scrupulously and surreptitiously NCP leader Ajit Pawar pulled strings and shook hands with Fadnavis.
The President’s rule was revoked at 5.47 am early morning, and before many woke up, Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar as deputy CM. It was claimed that Ajit Pawar had the support of 12 MLAs.
The NCP chief immediately took to Twitter and clarified that Ajit’s took the decision in his own capacity and the party doesn’t support it.
Soon after the news broke, Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress blamed the BJP for engineering a midnight coup. During the campaigning for the assembly election, CM Fadnavis had called out NCP, especially Ajit Pawar, for alleged corruption. Even after the results were declared the BJP claimed that they will never form a government with the support of NCP.
BJP will never, never, never have any alliance with NCP. Rumours are motivated. We exposed their corruption in assembly. Others were silent.
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) September 26, 2014
Shocked with the political developments, Twitterati did not fail to resurface the same Tweet in which Fadnavis condemned the NCP. Fadnavis during his last tenure also accused Ajit Pawar of ₹70,000 crore irrigation scam.
— ABP News (@ABPNews) November 23, 2019
Infuriated by nephew Ajit’s betrayal, Sharad Pawar sacked him from the legislative leadership. In another twist, 12 rebel MLAs who had earlier backed Ajit Pawar, have returned to the NCP.
While the BJP continues to claim that it has the support of 170 MLAs, the trio party have submitted signature from 162 MLAs to the Governor claiming the stake in power. Maharashtra politics have now resorted to the infamous “Resort Politics”, which happened multiple times in Karnataka. MLAs are shifted to resorts to prevent poaching.