BJP suffers loss of face in Fadnavis' fall

BJP spokesperson on television sought to wash their hands off the issue, laying the blame at Ajit Pawar’s doors saying once the latter resigned, BJP lost the numbers and did not try to engage horse-trading.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s resignation on Tuesday afternoon was as dramatic as his sudden swearing-in on Saturday morning, an episode which dented BJP’s image with many wondering what prompted the ruling party to go for the gamble after having experienced a similar failure in Karnataka last year.

After the Supreme Court cut short the time frame to just one day to Devendra Fadnavis government to seek trust vote, throwing waters on BJP’s plan to muster the number using the 14-day window earlier given by Governor B S Koshiyari and most of the NCP MLAs swearing by Sharad Pawar, BJP was quick to realize that the game was over for it.

Soon after the Supreme Court order, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, who were attending the Constitution Day function in the Central Hall of  Parliament, closeted for a discussion separately, where the decision that Fadnavis should call it quits was taken.

 BJP Working President J P Nadda, who was also part of the deliberations, was mobbed by the reporters in Parliament corridor. He merely said “keep an eye on Devendra Fadnavis”. By the time the news was already out that Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has tendered resignation. Within hours, the news also came Fadnavis will also address a press conference and he could resign. It actually happened.

As the Supreme Court verdict narrowed the time span to just one day for Fadnavis to muster up the number, the BJP leadership also took into account the claimed number of 162 MLAs paraded by Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena on Monday night.

The leadership felt that with most of MLAs of NCP already out of bound for Ajit Pawar, there was no point going for a trust vote.

Earlier in Karnataka, where also the BJP had emerged as the single largest party like Maharastra in the 2018 assembly polls, B S Yediyurappa had staked claim to form the government and was sworn in but had to resign just two days after as he could not muster up the numbers.

None of senior BJP leaders at Centre chose to speak on the subject not even Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who had on Monday asserted that BJP had the "electoral and moral" mandate to form a government in Maharashtra.

BJP spokesperson on television sought to wash their hands off the issue, laying the blame at Ajit Pawar’s doors saying once the latter resigned, BJP lost the numbers and did not try to engage horse-trading.

The Opposition, however, was not impressed with the “high moral ground” that the BJP sought to take and came out all guns blazing.

“The BJP's attempts at taking the high ground are not fooling anyone. They must answer for their atrocious attempts at illegally & undemocratically capturing Maharashtra govt,” Congress tweeted.

It also asked if they did not have numbers, why did they “orchestrate a midnight coup”. “Why did PM Modi invoke Emergency powers of Constitution (Rule 12) to end President’s Rule-used only for warlike situations or financial emergency…”

Lawyer-activist politician Prashant Bhushan tweeted “ if there was any ethics in public life, not only Fadnavis, but RSS man Koshiyari & Kovind along with Amit Shah&Modi should resign after this brazen power grab&Maha fiasco. If there was any ethics in media, those who called this masterstroke or chanakya politics should also resign”.

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