NCP-Sena write to governor, claiming numbers
GN Bureau | November 25, 2019
Amid the high drama in Maharashtra politics, the supreme court has reserved its judgment on Tuesday, even as the Shiv Sena and NCP wrote to the governor, claiming they had the number to prove majority.
On the Sena plea against governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s move to invite Devendra Fadnavis to form government early Saturday morning, the supreme court on Monday heard all sides and reserved its judgment for Tuesday morning.
A bench of justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna took note of the letter of the governor inviting Fadnavis to form government, and the letter of support of the necessary number of MLAs. Solicitor general Tushar Mehta represented the central government, while Mukul Rohtagi represented the Maharashtra government. The Sena and the NCP/Congress were represented by Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi. The crux of the arguments was the letter of support.
After the October 21 assembly elections gave not enough numbers to the BJP but clear majority for the pre-poll alliance of BJP-Sena, it was the Sena that upped the ante and sought a more share in power, which the BJP refused. When the governor invited it to form government, the BJP, the largest party, failed to do so. The governor then turned to the Sena, and also to the NCP, which too failed. The governor then recommended the president’s rule. The Sena and the NCP, ideologically bitter rivals, however, started talks, and the NCP chief, Sharad Pawar, persuaded the Congress to join in.
On Friday night, all stakeholders apparently went to sleep believing Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray would be sworn in as chief minister the next day with the NCP and Congress in support – a very surprising outcome. The more surprising development came early Saturday morning, when the prime minister recommended revocation of the president’s rule, the president gave his assent, the governor invited Fadnavis to form government – with Pawar’s nephew and NCP legislative party head Ajit Pawar as deputy chief minister.
The Sena and its new allies claimed foul play and petitioned before the apex court. Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar maintained that he was not party to his nephew’s moves, and neither were most NCP MLAs.
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