Long drawn political battle on anvil on govt formation

A long-drawn political battle seems to be on the anvil in Maharashtra on the government formation issue in Maharashtra even as Devendra Fadnavis has taken oath for the second time with the backing of an apparently breakaway faction of NCP led by Ajit Pawar.

BJP openly rejoiced its success in foiling the Congress “conspiracy to control the financial capital” of country and claimed itself to be natural claimant of power being the single largest party had the mandate for form government in the state and it also had a role in the success of Shiv Sena.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah were quick to congratulate Fadnavis on becoming Chief Minister Ajit Pawar as Deputy CM, a clear assertion by Sharad Pawar that the decision taken by his nephew was not the decision of NCP but his personal one, made it clear that the issue is far from over.

Nawab Mallik of NCP categorically said that the formation of NCP-Congress-Sena will form the government after defeating Fadnavis on the floor of the House. This was after four of 10-11 NCP MLAs that accompanied Ajit Pawar to the Governor, returned back to Sharad Pawar saying they were misled.

The nearest parallel to a similar government formation exercise after the BJP has emerged as the single largest party was in Karnataka, when B S Yeddyurappa last year formed a government, hoping to cobble up a majority but JDS and Congress MLAs stuck to their flock and Yeddyurappa had resigned after failing to muster up the numbers.

The difference between the two decisions is, however, that while in the earlier case, aged Yediyurappa was managing the affairs on his own, Fadnavis seems to have got strong backing of the top leadership.

After the decision to revoke President Rule in Wee hours, a quarter before 6 AM and the administering of oath to Fadnavis at 8 AM, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s congratulatory tweet came after 15 minutes saying he is confident they will work diligently for the bright future of Maharashtra.

Shah was also quick to follow with another congratulatory message at around half past eight, expressing confidence that this government will always be committed to the welfare and development of Maharashtra and will establish new benchmarks of progress in the state.

By noon Union Prakash Javadekar came in full defence dismissing as “absurd” the argument of Shiv Sena is that if Sena goes with NCP, it is good and if NCP MLAs come with the state BJP it is bad.  Today what has been honoured is “Peoples’ Mandate”, he said stressing what khichdi was cooking otherwise was anti-mandate.

Javadekar also accused Sena of having “betrayed people & peoples’ mandate” by deciding to go with the Congress, had “opposed Ram Mandir & Veer Savarkar”

In the afternoon, the party fielded Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad, who is great details tried to establish how it is perfectly right for the BJP to form government with Ajit Pawar even as Sharad Pawar emphatically said that Ajit Pawar's decision to support the BJP to form the Maharashtra Government is his personal decision and not that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

“We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his,” Pawar had said.

Congress on expected lines went into offensive with its chief Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asking why the “oath was administered like thieves” and alleged that “Governor once again proved to be the hit-man of Shah”.  Surjewala compared the coming together of  Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar as coming together of “Duryodhan and Shakuni (characters from The Mahabharata to carry out “cheerharan” (stripping)  of democracy, as he asked ten questions from Modi and Shah.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s political advisor Ahmed Patel said “illegal and evil manoeuvres take place in the secrecy of midnight.  Such was the shame that they had to do the swearing-in hiding.”

BJP dismissed the attack as reaction of Congress “grapes are sour now” and Ravi Shankar Prasad wondered“when Shiv Sena breaks its 30-year-old friendship (with BJP due to its opportunism and join hands with Congress, it is not the murder of democracy but when a big faction of NCP backed a government led by Devendra Fadnavais for the sake of stability, it becomes murder of democracy.”

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