MUMBAI: Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is set to take oath as Maharashtra chief minister on Thursday after BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, who became CM through a surprise early-morning swearing-in last Saturday, resigned on Tuesday saying his party doesn’t have the numbers.
His announcement came soon after NCP’s Ajit Pawar decided to quit as deputy CM due to “personal reasons”.
What paved the way for the anti-climax was the Supreme Court ruling that came early in the day ordering floor test for Fadnavis to prove his majority in the Assembly by Wednesday.
On Monday, the NCP-Congress-Sena combine had paraded some 160 MLAs at a hotel in Mumbai to show their alliance has the numbers to form the government.
However, the man who turned the tables was 79-year-old NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar who outwitted the BJP. He saw through the formation of an unlikely alliance with arch-rival Shiv Sena to keep the BJP out of power.
On Tuesday evening, Thackeray was formally elected the CM candidate of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (Maharashtra Development Front or MDF) at a joint meeting of all the MLAs of the Sena, NCP and Congress. He will take oath at Shivaji Park, in front of the memorial of his father Balasaheb Thackray, on Thursday.
NCP state unit chief Jayant Patil proposed Thackeray’s name as the CM candidate at the meeting, which was seconded by Congress state Chief Balasaheb Thorat. Earlier, the MDF was formally constituted at the meeting. The MLAs also passed resolution hailing the Supreme Court order. A preamble of the Common Minimum Programme, too, was read at the meeting.
After the meeting, Patil and Thorat along with Shiv Sena legislature leader Eknath Shinde went to meet governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to formally stake claim for government formation in the state.
The governor had earlier in the day appointed BJP MLAs Kalidas Kolambkar as the Protem Speaker and also announced the programme from swearing-in of MLAs starting 8.00 am on Wednesday.
This way the two conditions laid down by the Supreme Court verdict have been complied with. The other three conditions, pertaining to floor test, have become redundant due to the resignation of the Fadnavis government.
“We had said that we won’t engage in horse-trading. That was also the reason why we declined to form government when Shiv Sena didn’t come with us earlier. But, when NCP’s Ajit Pawar decided to co-operate with us. As per our discussion, we formed government. Today, Ajit Pawar told me he was quitting due to personal reasons. Ajit Pawar met me and said he could not continue with the alliance for some reasons and he was resigning. Since he has resigned, we too do not have majority,” Fadnavis said.