Maharashtra Govt Formation Updates: Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress MLAs assembled at Hotel Grand Hyatt took a pledge, 'I swear that under the leadership of Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray and Sonia Gandhi, I will be honest to my party. I won't get lured by anything. I will not do anything which will benefit BJP.'
Maharashtra Govt Formation Updates: "After an approval from party chief Akhilesh Yadav, I have given a letter showing of support from the SP to the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance," said Abu Azmi after attending the 'We are 162' show of strength in Mumbai.
Speaking to reporters after Congress, NCP and Sena's show of strength, BJP's Ashish Shelar said that majority in Assembly can't be proved by such parades. Terming the event as an 'identification parade', he said the MLAs had insulted the people of Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress MLAs assembled at Hotel Grand Hyatt took a pledge, "I swear that under the leadership of Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray and Sonia Gandhi, I will be honest to my party. I won't get lured by anything. I will not do anything which will benefit BJP."
Speaking at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar asserted that the NCP, Congress and Sena will form government in the state.
"You can see that all the 162 MLAs are present here. We are ready to face the assembly the day the Supreme Court orders floor test." Sharad Pawar said at the show of strength in Mumbai.
Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray and Aaditya Thackeray have reached the Hotel Grand Hyatt where Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress MLAs have assembled. Apart from the MLAs, various state party leaders and Independent MLAs are also present at the hotel, reports News18.
NCP's Sharad Pawar and Supriya Sule have reached the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai. 162 MLAs of the Sena, NCP, Congress combine are expected to be present at the venue.
Terming the closure of irrigation scam cases "contract killing of democracy'", Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that it is being used as "a bargaining tool to carry on an illegitimate BJP-Ajit Pawar government" in the state.
"We are all one and together. Watch our 162 (MLAs) together for the first time at Grand Hyatt (in Mumbai) at 7 pm," tweeted Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, tagging the Governor of Maharashtra.
According to highly placed sources in Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), in the list of cases being circulated on social media, none of the cases belong to alleged irrigation corruption case against Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, reported ANI.
Nine cases related to the irrigation scam were closed, 48 hours after Ajit Pawar was sworn in as the deputy chief minister on Saturday. News18 reported that the cases related to the Vidarbha Pathbandhare Mahamandal have been shut.
On the second day of hearing the petition filed by the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, the Supreme Court reserved its order for 10.30 am on Tuesday after arguments were concluded. While NCP and Shiv Sena lawyers Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal pushed for an immediate floor test, the apex court gave the newly sworn-in Devendra Fadnavis a 24 hours' breather.
Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP MLAs visited the Raj Bhavan to submit affidavits signed by 162 MLAs supporting the tripartite alliance and rejecting Fadnavis' installation as the Chief Minister.
Additionally, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned till 2 pm after ruckus in both the Parliament Houses over the political imbroglio in Maharashtra.
NCP MLAs were shifted in the wee hours from the Renaissance Hotel to the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai.
The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance submitted affidavits of 162 MLA's — the majority magic number to form government being 145 — to the Supreme Court today to argue that it has a majority in the Maharashtra assembly. Fifty-six MLAs from Shiv Sena, 44 from Congress, 46 from NCP, and eight Independents have signed identical affidavits against Devendra Fadnavis' unprecedented swearing-in on Saturday.
NCP leader Nawab Malik struck a hopeful note and said, "Ffity MLAs are with us but not everyone is at the hotel.
Sharad Pawar has refuted Ajit Pawar's claim, and said that there is no question of an alliance with the BJP.
Congress leader Ashok Chavan said, "BJP is trying to gain more time from the Supreme Court, you can understand the motive behind this, they are trying to poach MLAs from other parties."
The BJP on Sunday accused its one-time ally Shiv Sena of committing the "sin" of abandoning its founder Bal Thackeray's thoughts of aligning with the BJP by joining hands with the Congress and the NCP.
On a somewhat unexpected note, Ajit Pawar has said, "I am in the NCP and shall always be in the NCP and (Sharad Pawar) Saheb is our leader."
According to a senior leader attending the meeting in the Renaissance Hotel, Uddhav Thackeray confirmed that NCP, Sena, Congress and independents together have close to 165 MLAs.
The Shiv Sena has posted a tweet saying, "Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray provided guidance to party MLAs."
Meeting of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs chaired by party chief Sharad Pawar concluded at the Hotel Renaissance. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and party spokesperson Sanjay Raut were also present at the meeting. Uddhav told the MLAs, "Do not worry, this relationship will go long, our alliance will go a long way."
NCP's Ajit Pawar thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said, "We will ensure a stable Government that will work hard for the welfare of the people of Maharashtra." Pawar's tweet came hours after the Supreme Court rejected BJP's plea of granting three days' time to prove majority on the floor of the Assembly.
The Supreme Court on Sunday held an urgent hearing of a petition filed by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine, seeking quashing of the Maharashtra Governor's decision to swear in Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister. The Supreme Court also rejected Centre's plea to grant them three days to respond on Floor Test. The apex court, instead, ordered Centre to produce the letter of the Governor inviting them to form a government, and letters of support for Devendra Fadnavis by Monday morning.
Supreme Court hearing begins. Abhishek Manu Singhvi also cited the Goa and Uttarakhand cases where floor test was directed to be held within specific period of time. 'In Uttarakhand case, a 'composite' floor test was directed between contesting political alliances. Same thing was ordered in Jagdambika Pal case,' Singhvi tells Supreme Court. 'If floor test is ordered for tomorrow, larger issues may come back to the Supreme Court later. How is it possible for someone claiming majority yesterday to shy away from a floor test today. If floor test is ordered, it is not an invasive adversarial order at all. Floor test is only a constitutional obligation of a democracy. How is it adversarial?'
Kapil Sibal apologises to the Supreme Court bench for the hearing on a Sunday and says, "But we are not the only ones to blame". Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for some BJP and Independent MLAs, says, "I was on Karnataka case also. This case should have gone through 226 jurisdiction first. The government has been formed for now so there is no reason for this Sunday hearing," Rohatgi tells Supreme Court. The judges hit back. Justice Bhushan hit back saying, "That is the discretion of the CJI, Mr Rohatgi."
"It appears that the Governor is acting directly under the orders of a political party. The act of Governor smacks of bias, is mala fide contrary to all norms. Only thing to do today is if they believe they have the numbers, majority and can prove their support, they should be directed to conduct floor test today itself," Sibal told the 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court.
Sibal apprises the court of the developments in Maharashtra starting from election results. "In the formation of the government, governors have some discretion as is decided by the Judgments of this Court. In this case, a pre-poll alliance broke down and we have to look at the post-poll alliance now. A common minimum program was arrived at and that Uddhav Thackeray would be the chief minister. It is bizarre that on Saturday at 5.47 am the President's Rule was revoked and in less than three hours Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were sworn in. From thereon, everything is shrouded in mystery, what documents were given, what material was placed, nothing is in public domain."
Kapil Sibal begins arguments in the Supreme Court. The apex court is hearing a petition filed by the Sena-Congress-NCP combine against the appointment of Devendra Fadnavis as the Maharashtra Chief Minister.
Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, Additional Solicitor-General KM Nataraj, senior counsels and Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Kapil Sibal and Devadatt Kamat are present in the courtroom. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala and former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan are present in the court. NCP leader and lawyer Majeed Memon was also seen.
After a meeting with NCP Sharad Pawar at his residence, senior leader Chhagan Bhujbal said that 49-50 MLAs are with the party chief and one or two more are expected to add to this strength. He expressed confidence that a NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress government will be formed in Maharashtra. Meanwhile, Congress leader Ashok Chavan reached Sharad Pawar's Mumbai residence, while NCP's Dilip Walse Patil visited Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
The Supreme Court will hear the petition at 11.30 am on Sunday. The bench will comprise Justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna. While Attorney General KK Venugopal will represent the Centre, Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi will argue for the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) respectively. The petition sought that the court issue appropriate directions to summon a special session of the 14th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly with the only agenda of administering oath to the MLAs, immediately followed by the holding of a floor test on Sunday, in order to thwart horse-trading and "illegal manoeuvres" in the state.
The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress alliance on Saturday evening approached the Supreme Court against Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's decision to invite BJP's Devendra Fadnavis to form the Maharashtra government.
The apex court is set to hear the matter at 11.30 am tomorrow.
Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the chief minister of Maharashtra for the second consecutive term. PTI
In its petition, the Sena alleged that the dispensation in Maharashtra was a "minority government" and that the governor exercised his discretion illegally. The Sena also requested that a floor test be conducted within 24 hours to prevents attempts at poaching
This development came after an astounding twist on Saturday morning when Fadnavis returned as chief minister propped up by Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) Ajit Pawar, who was made his deputy.
Just hours earlier, the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress alliance had reached a consensus that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray would be their chief ministerial candidate.
Fadnavis and Ajit were sworn in by Koshyari around 7.30 am at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai after President's Rule in the state was lifted in a dramatic overnight development.
Ajit's decision created a fissure in the NCP, whose chief Sharad Pawar distanced himself from his nephew's dramatic action, saying the decision to back Fadnavis for his second consecutive term was "a personal choice" and not that of the party.
Later in the day, the NCP removed Ajit as the party's legislature unit head, saying his move was not in line with the party's policies and gave state unit head Jayant Patil temporary rights until the election of a new leader.
There has been no official confirmation on reports that the governor has asked Fadnavis to prove his majority in the Assembly by 30 November.
There were also reports that Fadnavis and Ajit met the governor separately late last night, after which he sent a report to the Centre suggesting that the President's Rule be lifted.
'Murder of democracy'
After the dramatic early morning swearing in, leaders of the Sena and Congress cried foul, calling the governor's action as a "murder of democracy" and a "black day in the history of Maharashtra".
While Uddav Thackeray said it is a surgical strike on the people of Maharashtra and they would avenge it, Sena leader Sanjay Raut accused Ajit of stabbing people of Maharashtra in the back by deciding to join hands with the BJP.
The Congress termed the swearing-in a "black chapter" in India's history, and said the BJP acted as a "contract killer" of democracy and the governor once again proved to be BJP chief Amit Shah's "hitman".
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said "opportunist" Ajit, accused by the saffron party in the past of corruption, was "scared" of being put behind bars by the BJP.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot demanded the resignation of the governor on "moral grounds", asserting that he acted in connivance with the BJP to make Fadnavis the chief minister. Asserting that the 'Aghadi' combine would come to power, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said that the three parties would fight the situation on the political and legal front.
'We have electoral, moral mandate'
The BJP, however, asserted that it had the "electoral and moral" mandate to form a government in Maharashtra and brushed aside the criticism of its alliance with NCP leader, saying the tie-up was guided by the "given situation".
The swearing-in ceremony was held soon after the President's Rule, imposed on 12 November, was revoked. President Ram Nath Kovind signed the proclamation for revocation of the Central rule and a gazette notification to this effect was issued at 5.47 am.
As questions cropped up whether a meeting of the Union Cabinet was held to recommend revocation of the President's Rule, a senior home ministry official said the approval was given by the Central government by invoking a special provision of The Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules which gives the prime minister special powers.
The Rule 12 says: "Departure from Rules.- The Prime Minister may, in any case or classes of cases, permit or condone a departure from these rules, to the extent he deems necessary". The prime minister gave this approval, which acts as post-facto approval of the Union Cabinet, the official said.
The swearing-in ceremony came as a political shocker, with Sharad describing his nephew Ajit Pawar's decision to join hands with the BJP an act of indiscipline, and said his nephew and other MLAs of the party who have switched sides would attract the provisions of the anti-defection law.
By the end of the day, atleast nine of the 11 NCP MLAs who had accompanied Ajit to the Raj Bhavan reiterated their loyalty to the senior Pawar and claimed to not know about the reason behind their being summoned in the morning.
NCP MLA Dhananjay Munde, a staunch supporter of Ajit Pawar, was present at the meeting of party legislators at the YB Chavan centre in south Mumbai later in the day.
Regarding the letter of support submitted to the governor, Pawar said that the governor had been misled by Ajit. "Ajit, by virtue of being the NCP legislature party leader, possessed the list of all the 54 party MLAs with names, signatures and constituencies for internal party use. I presume he has submitted that list as a letter of support to the governor. If this is true, the governor has been misled," he said.
Meanwhile, reports emerged that the Congress would shift its MLAs to a resort in Jaipur to avoid horse-trading.
Speaking to BJP workers at the party office in Mumbai, Fadnavis said he would give Maharashtra a strong government with Ajit Pawar's support. Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, "Modi hai toh mumkin hai!"
Meanwhile, claiming that the new BJP-led dispensation would not pass the floor test, the senior Pawar asserted that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine has the numbers and will form the government.
The senior Pawar said he was not aware if his nephew decided to support the BJP out of the fear of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Ajit is among those named in the multi-crore Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam case.
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar after a meeting with party MLAs in Mumbai. PTI
The NCP chief also rejected the speculation that Ajit's defiance was the result of power struggle with Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule over the post of chief minister. Sule put up a WhatsApp status regarding a split within the party and the family.
Pawar said the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena, along with Independents and smaller parties, have the support of 169 to 170 MLAs, and they were ready to form the government.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik too asserted that the NCP, Congress, Sena combine had the numbers to prove majority and added that they would defeat the BJP-led government in the Assembly Speaker's election.
Fifty of the party's 56 MLAs reportedly attended the party's meeting headed by Sharad Pawar, raising questions regarding the exact number of NCP MLAs who had lent support to the BJP.
The day's dramatic events also saw a missing person's complaint being filed for an MLA from the NCP. Shahapur MLA Daulat Daroda went 'missing' after reaching Raj Bhavan in south Mumbai in the morning. Daroda left his constituency in neighbouring Thane, along with his son Karan on Friday night and has been unreachable after reaching Mumbai, a police official said.
The BJP and the Sena, which fought the Assembly polls in an alliance, had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively in the 288-member House. The Sena broke its three-decade ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister's post on a rotational basis.
The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats respectively. After the BJP and Sena both failed to stake claim to government formation, the governor had invited the NCP to form government.
President's Rule was imposed in the state after no single party or alliance could stake claim to form government. The Sena, Congress and NCP had been in talks ever since and had drawn up a common minimum programme which would serve as the agenda if the combine came to power.
With inputs from PTI