NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who was on Saturday sworn in as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, returned to his private residence near Churchgate in the early hours of Sunday, sources said. He spent Saturday at his brother’s home in Mumbai even as his uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar attended a party meeting where most of the NCP MLAs were present.
Meanwhile, a meeting of BJP legislators is slated in Mumbai on Sunday, a day after Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the chief minister again. The NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena are trying to ensure their MLAs are not poached. In view of this, the NCP and Shiv Sena have moved their legislators to luxury hotels in Mumbai, while the Congress sources said they may take their MLAs to Jaipur.
In the 288-member state Assembly, the BJP government will have to prove that it has the backing of 145 legislators. There has been no official confirmation on reports that the governor has asked Fadnavis to prove his majority in the Assembly by November 30.
In a stunning turn of events, Fadnavis on Saturday returned as chief minister propped up by Ajit Pawar, who was made his deputy, just hours after the new alliance of Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress reached a consensus that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will be their chief ministerial candidate.
Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were sworn in by Koshyari at a hush hush ceremony here, leading to lifting of the President’s rule in the state. Speaking to BJP workers at the party office here after being sworn in, Fadnavis said he would give Maharashtra a strong government with Ajit Pawar’s support.
Ajit Pawar’s volte face created fissures in the NCP, whose chief Sharad Pawar distanced himself from his nephew’s dramatic action, saying the decision to back Fadnavis was his personal choice and not that of the party.
On Saturday evening, the NCP removed Ajit Pawar as the party’s legislature unit head, saying his move was not in line with the party’s policies. The Shiv Sena also approached the Supreme Court against the “arbitrary and malafide actions/decisions” of Governor Koshyari of swearing in Fadnavis.
The BJP and the Sena, which fought the last month’s Assembly polls in an alliance, secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively. The Sena, however, broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister’s post.
The Congress and the NCP, both pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats respectively.