Devendra Fadnavis takes oath as Maharashtra CM: Sena outsmarted, Ajit Pawar plays kingmaker

Devendra Fadnavis takes oath as Maharashtra CM: Sena outsmarted, Ajit Pawar plays kingmaker
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, meanwhile, has issued a statement saying Ajit Pawar’s decision to back the BJP-led state government was his ‘personal’ one and not endorsed by the NCP

The near-month long political impasse over government formation in Maharashtra ended on Saturday, with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis taking oath as Chief Minister and NCP’s Ajit Pawar sworn-in as the Deputy Chief Minister.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath at the Raj Bhavan at around 7.30 am.

Blaming the Shiv Sena for disrespecting the people’s mandate in last month’s Assembly polls, Fadnavis said, “People had given us a clear mandate, but Shiv Sena tried to ally with other parties after the results, after which the President’s rule was imposed. Maharashtra needed a stable government, not a khichdi government.”

“I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and J P Nadda for giving me the chance to serve people once again,” the BJP leader added.

Ajit Pawar backed the BJP and with the support of Independent lawmakers and smaller parties, the saffron party decided to stake claim to form the government, he said.

After being sworn-in as the deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar said, “From the day the (poll) results were declared on October 24, no party was able to form the government. Maharashtra was facing many problems, including farmers” issues. So we decided to form a stable government.”

The development was followed by a swarm of congratulatory messages from senior BJP leaders, including party president Amit Shah and PM Modi.

In the Assembly elections held last month, the BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 105 seats, followed by the Shiv Sena (56), the NCP (54) and the Congress (48) in the 288-member House.

The Shiv Sena and BJP, which contested the assembly polls together, parted ways days after the results were declared due to disagreement over sharing the Chief Minister’s post.

The Sena subsequently reached out to NCP and Congress to seek their support. In the interim, Maharashtra came under President’s Rule on November 9 after all parties failed to form the government in the state.

Other Major Developments

Ajit’s decision to support BJP ‘personal’, not supported by NCP

While political observers say the surprise swearing-in is a political masterstroke by Sharad Pawar, the statesman has issued a statement to the contrary.

Sharad Pawar on Saturday said Ajit Pawar’s decision to support the BJP was his own and not that of the party.

“Ajit Pawar’s decision to support the BJP to form the Maharashtra Government is his personal decision and not that of the NCP. We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his,” he said.

The development comes barely hours after the Sharad Pawar said that Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress were ready for form government in the state, with Uddhav Thackeray as CM.

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether NCP has split or all the 54 MLAs of the party have backed the BJP.

Ajit Pawar cheated people, his uncle Sharad Pawar, says Shiv Sena

Following the swearing-in ceremony, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut told media persons that Ajit Pawar has “cheated” both his uncle and the voters of Maharashtra.

Raut said that Ajit Pawar had stayed with the leaders of Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress till very late on Friday and everything appeared to be normal.

“Ajit Pawar was with us all night in the meeting, but his body language was suspicious. He stepped out of the meeting and his phone was switched off,” Raut was quoted as saying.

“Sharad Pawar has nothing to do with this, and I can say that with confidence. Ajit Pawar has cheated not only the voters of the State but even his own uncle,” he said, adding that people will never forgive someone like him.

The Sena MP also stated that BJP lured the NCP leader and MLAs using unconstitutional means, and slammed the Governor for keeping people of the state “in the dark”.

Meanwhile, Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and NCP President Sharad Pawar are expected to address a press conference later today to discuss the developments.

President’s Rule revoked

President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday morning revoked the Proclamation of central rule implemented in Maharashtra since November 12.

The notification to that effect, signed by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, was issued earlier today following Fadnavis and Pawar’s swearing-in ceremony.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 356 of the Constitution, I, Ram Nath Kovind, President of India hereby revoke the Proclamation issued by me under the said article on the 12th day of November, 2019, in relation to the State of Maharashtra with effect from the 23rd day of November, 2019,” the notification said.

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