Home » Imbroglio over government formation in Maharashtra continues; Sharad Pawar’s role appears doubtful

Imbroglio over government formation in Maharashtra continues; Sharad Pawar’s role appears doubtful

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 5 minutes read

IT News

Mumbai, Nov. 24

The imbroglio over government formation in Maharashtra continued with the Supreme Court on Sunday refusing to order immediate floor test as a sequel to Devendra Fadnavis (BJP) and Ajit Pawar (NCP) swearing in as chief minister and deputy CM in early hours of Saturday morning without observing protocol.

While hearing a petition filed by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine against the Maharashtra Governor Bhagatsingh  Koshyari’s  decision to swear in Fadnavis as CM, the SC issued notice to all parties and posted the matter for hearing on Monday, November 25. The apex court also directed the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta to produce the letters with the governor — one in which the BJP submitted its claims on having a majority and the other of the governor inviting Fadnavis to form a government.

In a dramatic turn of events Fadnavis (former CM) and Ajit Pawar( a nephew of NCP Chief Sharad Pawar) , were sworn in as CM and DCM respectively on Saturday. The swearing in took place at 7.45 AM after President’s Rule (imposed on November 12 after last month’s elections delivered a fractured mandate) was revoked at 5.47 am on Saturday. No media  except one news agency, was invited and swearing in was completed in hush-hush manner. The Governor has given a time till 30 November to prove the majority to Chief Minister Fadnavis, However the Shiv Sena led front wants him to prove the majority immediately or the front bee given a chance to prove its majority.

Government formation in Maharashtra had appeared to be a done deal late Friday night after a lengthy tripartite meeting between the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP that resulted in Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray being announced as the alliance’s Chief Minister.

The news of Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar swearing in came as nothing but a coup in Maharashtra on Saturday morning. The political earthquake that shook the state and most particularly Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray, who had walked many extra miles to soothe the political nerves of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was hesitant in joining hands with an overtly Hindutva party.

Ajit Pawar was stated to be accompanied by a dozen MLAs of his party for the oath taking ceremony. However later most of them returned to the party fold and claimed that they were mislead by Pawar. He was also accused of falsely presenting the list of MLAs consenting to support the government, which was in fact prepared by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine). The collation partners had prepared the letter of support listing the names of the newly elected MLAs after giving a final shape to the common minimum programme – the agreeable pact for governance. The list of NCP MLAs was with Ajit Pawar. However he used the same letter to turn the story on its head.

After a meeting of NCP legislators held at the Y.B. Chavan Centre in Mumbai, on Saturday, Ajit Pawar was sacked as the leader of NCP’s legislative party and was replaced by Jayant Patil. However Pawar senior did not remove his rebel nephew from the party. The meeting was attended by 42 MLAs, although the strength of elected MLAs is 54 in the 288 member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

While the NCP is heading for a split, the developments indicateb more than what meets eye. It may be recalled that Sharad Pawar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a meeting in New Delhi on 20 November “to discuss the issues of farmers”. Besides, Modi had praised him and his party on the occasion of 250th session of the Rajya Sabha.

On that day and BJP President Amit Shah held separate meeting, which led to speculation that some agreement might have been reached between Pawar and Modi. It was also said that the NCP might get something at the Centre in bargain. Moreover, Ajit Pawar is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with an alleged corruption case. Some time ED had also served notice against Sharad Pawar and a few NCP MLAs..

Pawar and Modi are known to have personal equation despite the recent bickering during the Maharashtra election campaign. Modi has publicly praised Pawar as his political guru. Springing surprise is what is common to both Pawar and Modi. In fact soon after the results of the 2014 assembly elections were announced and it became clear that the BJP would run short of majority, Pawar unilaterally had pledged “outside support” to the BJP. Later Shiv Sena which had contested the elections separately joined the BJP Government led by Fadnavis nearly after two months.

Sharad Pawar has a chequered history of his political career. In 1978, he broke away from the Maharashtra Government led by Vasantdada Patil (his mentor) to form a coalition Government  of the Progressive Democratic Front(PDF), with support of Janata Party. In 1983 he had floated the “Congress-S” party. When the Congress party split, with Pawar’s mentor, Yashwantrao Chavan joining one faction-Congress (U), and Indira Gandhi leading her own faction, Congress I, Pawar had joined the Congress (U). In 1999 he opposed Sonia Gandhi as a prime ministerial candidate on the issue of “foreign origin” and floated new party –National Congress Party. However later he joined the UPA Government at the centre and also the Congress led Government in Maharashtra.

After the election results were announced on 24 October, the BJP, which emerged as the single largest party, could not earlier stake claim to form a government after it could not reach an agreement with its former ally Shiv Sena on its “50:50” demand. The BJP won 105 seats in the 288-member assembly followed by the Shiv Sena (56), NCP (54), Congress (44) and others including Independents =29.

In the meanwhile all the three parties-Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have herded their MLAs in different hotels to avoid defection.

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