Legislators of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress gathered at a hotel in Mumbai on Monday evening in a show of strength. They held posters saying, “We are 162”, but claimed they were more than 162 in number – much more than the majority mark of 145 in the Maharashtra Assembly.
The Supreme Court is expected to pass an order at 10.30 am on Tuesday on when the Assembly should hold a floor test to decide if Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has a majority.
The political crisis in the state led to uproar in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on Monday. Both Houses were adjourned in the afternoon as Opposition members kept protesting.
Here are the developments from the day:
9.40 pm: Read more about the MLAs’ gathering and other developments from Monday here:
9.04 pm: Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi tells ANI, “After an approval from the party chief Akhilesh Yadav, I have given a letter showing the support of Samajwadi Party for Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance.”
8.35 pm: BJP leader Ashish Shelar says majority in the Assembly cannot be proved by such parades, PTI reports. “We are sure that we will win the floor test in the Assembly, whenever it gets convened,” he says. “Such parades in a hotel will not help in proving majority on the floor. The way Shiv Sena leaders have joined hands with the Congress, it underscores how hollow its Hindutva has been.”
8.05 pm: All MLAs gathered in the hall take a collective pledge, say they will be committed to the alliance and would not fall prey to any offer. They say they will not help the BJP in any way and will not indulge in any anti-party activities.
8.04 pm: Sharad Pawar says, “There will not be any problem in proving our majority. The one who is suspended from the party [Ajit Pawar] cannot give any orders. On the day of floor test, I will bring more than 162 MLAs.”
8.01 pm: “You don’t get power by playing these games,” says Pawar, according to NDTV. “We must stay united...we are ready to move forward.”
7.53 pm: NCP chief Sharad Pawar is speaking now.
7.51 pm: “We are 162” banners are seen inside the hall. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is addressing the MLAs. He says, “If you try and break our party, wait and watch.”
7.47 pm: Congress leader Ashok Chavan tells the assembled MLAs: “We are more than 162, not just 162. We all will be a part of the government. I thank Sonia Gandhi who allowed for this alliance to stop BJP. Governor should invite us to form government.”
7.39 pm: Nationalist Congress Party leader Jitendra Awhad tells MLAs that “an oath will be taken here”, ANI reports.
7.27 pm: “Long live Maha Vikas Aghadi” slogans heard in the hall where the MLAs have assembled, ANI reports. This is a reference to the name of the proposed alliance.
7.12 pm: Legislators of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have assembled at the hotel, ANI tweets pictures.
7 pm: Preparations are under way at Hotel Grand Hyatt, where MLAs from the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress will assemble soon, ANI reports.
5.13 pm: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut tweets tagging the Maharashtra governor: “We are all one and together, watch our 162 together for the first time at grand Hyatt at 7 pm, come and watch yourself.”
Grand Hyatt is the hotel where the NCP MLAs are staying.
The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress together have 154 MLAs.
5.08 pm: The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau has closed inquiries into alleged scandals in nine irrigation projects in the state, but says none of these involved Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, ANI reports.
4.33 pm: After both the Houses adjourn till 2 pm on Tuesday due to uproar over the government formation in Maharashtra, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla says it is the first time he has adjourned the House after a commotion. “I’ve always wanted that [the] House should run and debate be held,” he tells ANI. “But such acts cannot be tolerated.”
3.52 pm: Sharad Pawar says “there is not an iota of doubt” that the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress will form the government.
3.51 pm: NCP President Sharad Pawar denies he is behind his nephew Ajit Pawar’s decision to align with the BJP, reports PTI. “It is not the party’s decision and we do not endorse it,” Pawar tells reporters in Satara district’s Karad town. “It is wrong to say that I have a hand behind Ajit Pawar’s revolt.” The former Union minister reiterates that breaking ranks with the party was his nephew’s personal choice.
2.57 pm: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has accused the Congress of “murdering democracy” in the state, and then pinning the blame on the saffron party. “The BJP-Shiv Sena got the mandate to form the government with Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister,” The Indian Express quotes him as saying. “BJP’s win in state is both moral and political victory, which the Congress is trying to hijack.”
2.54 pm: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tells The Indian Express that democracy was murdered in Maharashtra when the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress tried to make Uddhav Thackeray the chief minister. “What horse-trading they are talking about?” he asks. “They have taken the whole stable away.”
2.27 pm: Devendra Fadnavis signs a CM relief fund cheque of Rs 1.20 lakh for Dadar resident Kusum Vengurlekar. This is the chief minister’s first move on his first day back in office.
2.22 pm: Patil and Daorda were accompanied back to Mumbai by Nationalist Youth Congress President Dheeraj Sharma and Nationalist Student Congress chief Sonia Doohan. “We told Sharad Pawar sahab that we want to return and stay with the party, he assured us that we will be brought back and made the necessary arrangements,” Patil tells ANI.
2.20 pm: NCP legislator Anil Patil, who arrived in Mumbai from the National Capital Region earlier this morning along with party colleague Daulat Daroda, says at least 100 to 200 BJP workers were waiting for them at the hotel in Gurugram. A number of police personnel were also present there, ANI quotes him as saying.
2.15 pm: A resident of Thane district, identified as Priya Chauhan, has moved the Bombay High Court, seeking direction to the BJP and the Shiv Sena to form the government as per the “public mandate”, reports PTI. The petitioner has also sought the High Court to pass directions against the appointment of a chief minister from the post-election alliance of Shiv Sena, the NCP, and the Congress. The petition was filed by advocate Nitin Satpute.
2.10 pm: Shiv Sena MLAs have been moved from Lalit Hotel to Hotel Lemon Tree, reports ANI.
12.53 pm: Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti, who has been operating the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister’s Twitter account since her detention in August, highlights the plight of people in the region.
“Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena fuming about a 24 hour delay/intentional reprieve given by SC to BJP,” she tweets. “Now imagine sense of helplessness and anger Kashmiris feel about SC dithering and dragging its feet on brutal restrictions in J&K since 112 days. First they came for us now it is your turn.”
12.50 pm: Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, whose actions precipitated the crisis in Maharashtra, says he paid homage to the state’s first Chief Minister Yashwantrao Chavan on his death anniversary. “Known as the architect of modern Maharashtra, he was instrumental in promoting the rise of public, cooperative and private enterprises in the state,” he adds.
12.45 pm: Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, who was Maharashtra’s 17th chief minister, asks why the BJP needs more time to prove its majority. “We have filed an affidavit which is signed by 154 MLAs,” News18 quotes him as saying. “It is true that few NCP MLAs have given their signatures in our letter along with their [Ajit Pawar] letter.”
12.43 pm: Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan alleged that the BJP is trying to reach out to legislators of the NCP, the Shiv Sena and the Congress. “They are trying to mislead the Supreme Court and buy time,” News18 quotes him as saying. “But all our MLAs are intact and we have full majority and figures of more than 160 MLAs.”
12.40 pm: Randeep Singh Surjewala says the government formed by Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar is illegitimate as they do not have the numbers. “Continuing the unholy government for even a second is a sacrilege,” The Indian Express quotes the Congress leader as saying. “Democracy has been trampled upon by the BJP.”
12.37 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala says the party is confident that “people and democracy will win in Maharashtra”, reports NDTV. The Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Shiv Sena are confident of defeating Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar in the floor test, he adds. “We are confident that this process [of the floor test] will begin tomorrow,” he adds.
12.34 pm: Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde says the “minority” BJP-led government formed on Saturday should resign. “Those with the majority should be given opportunity,” ANI quotes him as saying.
12.33 pm: Asked if his nephew Ajit Pawar will be expelled from the Nationalist Congress Party, Sharad Pawar says an individual will not decide such a matter and it will be the party’s collective call, reports ANI.
12.29 pm: NCP leader Jayant Patil says the party is a position “to bring 162 MLAs before Maharashtra governor at any given time”, reports ANI.
12.09 pm: In its letter to the governor, the Nationalist Congress Party led by Sharad Pawar has submitted the signatures of 51 of its 54 MLAs, according to NDTV. The Shiv Sena submitted the signatures of 63 MLAs, and the Congress added the signatures of 44 legislators. The Samajwadi Party’s two MLAs also backed the alliance.
11.54 am: The Supreme Court has reserved its order on Maharashtra government formation. It will be declared at 10.30 am on Tuesday, reports Bar and Bench.
11.52 am: Rohatgi calls for the established procedure to be followed. “The floor test should be conducted after election of Speaker and therefore it should not be today or tomorrow but according to the rules,” Bar and Bench quotes him as saying. “Correct thing should be done.”
11.51 am: Mukul Rohatgi says the four most important things at the moment are the procedure of appointment of a protem Speaker, administration of oath to the MLAs, electing a Speaker, and an agenda. “This is also what the rules state,” he adds, according to Bar and Bench.
11.49 am: Mukul Rohatgi, who is representing Devendra Fadnavis, objects to the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena fielding three lawyers to argue one petition, reports Live Law. “It simply isn’t allowed,” he says. He objects to the petitioners’ request floor test in 24 hours.
11.46 am: When Abhishek Manu Singhvi asks why the court should wait for affidavits with replies when both sides are seeking a floor test, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta intervenes. “In the letter which was submitted to governor withdrawing Ajit Pawar’s position as leader of NCP, 12 signatures were missing,” Live Law quotes him as saying.
11.38 am: Abhishek Manu Singhvi reiterates that he does not want to put the perjury allegation on record even as Mukul Rohatgi objects, according to Live Law. He calls for an immediate floor test in the state Assembly.
11.35 am: “It should shock your lordships’ conscience that somebody gets up in the Supreme Court and says ‘I am NCP’,” Singhvi tells the judges, according to The Hindu. He is referring to the statement made by senior counsel Maninder Singh, who appeared for Ajit Pawar.
11.34 am: Abhishek Manu Singhvi says the letter Ajit Pawar handed over to the court contains signatures of NCP MLAs electing him as the legislative party leader, reports The Hindu. “They were not signed support for joining the BJP alliance to form the government,” he adds. “The BJP has been too clever by half. This is sheer perjury.”
11.28 am: Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is appearing for the NCP, says the judges have a peculiar case in front of them as both sides agree that there should be a floor test. “The question is a narrow one, as to when the floor test should be held,” he adds, according to Bar and Bench.
11.27 am: Kapil Sibal urges court to order an immediate floor test. “Let the oldest member be made protem Speaker, let Floor test be video recorded,” he adds.
11.25 am: “Today Ajit Pawar is saying he had the support [of 54 NCP MLAs] but he has been removed from that position from NCP,” Bar and Bench quotes Sibal as saying. “If they have the majority then why should they shy away from the floor test?”
11.23 am: Kapil Sibal asks why the governor was in a hurry to invite the BJP to form the government when he had waited for so many days, reports Bar and Bench. “Everything happened between 7 pm on Friday and 5 am on Saturday morning,” he adds. “This was done to preempt forming of the Govt of the three party alliance.”
11.20 am: The Shiv Sena, the NCP, and the Congress have staked claim to form government in Maharashtra, reports NDTV. They have submitted letters of support to the governor.
11.17 am: The deputy chief minister’s counsel says the “point is whether the court will entertain the proceedings after being satisfied by the documents, and letters [of 54 NCP MLAs]”. He points out that nothing to the contrary has been proved, reports Bar and Bench. “I am NCP,” he proclaims.
11.15 am: Legal counsel Maninder Singh says Ajit Pawar acted as the NCP leader, and there is nothing to the contrary to show that he was not the party’s leader on November 22, reports Bar and Bench.
11.13 am: Now, senior counsel Maninder Singh is making submissions on behalf of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.
11.12 am: Rohatgi explains the procedure for the floor test, says a protem Speaker has to be appointed and MLAs need to take oath before floor test can be held, reports Live Law.
11.11 am: “The attack on the governor is completely unfounded,” Mukul Rohatgi tells court. “Governor has absolute discretion in choosing a person. When to hold the floor test is also the discretion of the governor.”
11.08 am: When Justice Khanna asks if Fadnavis has a majority today at the moment, Rohatgi says: “The question is whether there is enough substance for court to issue interim orders...my submission is no.”
11.05 am: Mukul Rohatgi submits that the Maharashtra case is different from last year’s constitutional crisis in Karnataka. “Here, the governor had materials before him showing majority,” he says, according to Live Law. “Nobody is saying that the signatures are forged. Governor gave chance to all parties. He exercised his discretion fairly.”
11.03 am: “One Pawar with me, one with them,” Rohatgi tells the judges. “There will be a family feud but I am not concerned. They are engaging in horse-trading, not us.”
11.02 am: Rohatgi is representing Devendra Fadnavis. He points out that President’s Rule was imposed after the BJP’s ally Shiv Sena broke the alliance, reports Live Law. “Then I get letter of support from NCP, so I went with 170 MLAs to governor,” the counsel submits on behalf of the chief minister. “President Rule was revoked and I was sworn in.”
11 am: Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi has started to make submissions, according to Live Law.
10.59 am: Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the BJP to form government and gave them time till November 30 to prove majority, says Tushar Mehta. “But now such time has come that the post-poll alliance is seeking floor test immediately in 24 hours,” he adds.
10.57 am: The solicitor general reads out the letter Devendra Fadnavis sent to the governor, reports Bar and Bench. “This letter also mentions the letter written by Ajit Pawar extending support of 54 NCP MLAs,” he tells the three-judge Bench. “Based on this material, Fadnavis staked claim to form government.”
10.54 am: Tushar Mehta says that in the letter Ajit Pawar stated he had the support of all the 54 NCP MLAs, and had mentioned he was the NCP legislative party chief, according to Live Law.
10.48 am: Tushar Mehta also hands over the letter Ajit Pawar sent to the governor on November 22. Mehta says the letter has the signatures of all 54 NCP MLAs backing a BJP-led government, according to NDTV.
10.46 am: The solicitor general raises questions about the extent of judicial review of the governor’s exercise of discretion, according to Live Law. He hands over governor’s letter inviting Devendra Fadnavis to form government.
10.41 am: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta says he has both the letters sought by the court. “Before showing the governor’s decision to the court, I will argue on the case backgrounds,” he tells the judges, according to Live Law.
10.40 am: The three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana and comprising Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna, has assembled, reports Bar and Bench.
10.28 am: Leaders of the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress arrive at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai to meet governor, ANI reports.
10.26 am: Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the BJP, says the record of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari revoking the President’s Rule in the state will be placed before the Supreme Court, ANI reports. “I’ve seen that along with letter of [Devendra] Fadnavis, there was a letter by Ajit Pawar as head of legislative party with signatures of all NCP MLAs,” he says. “Governor was right in granting an invitation to him to form the government.”
10.22 am: In an article in its mouthpiece Saamna, the Shiv Sena attacks the BJP, saying those who did not respect their 25-year-long friendship with the Uddhav Thackeray-led party will one day dump rebel Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar as well, PTI reports.
10.15 am: Sanjay Raut alleges that the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department and police were part of “Operation Kamal”, ANI reports. “If you have the majority then why do you need an ‘Operation Kamal’,” he asks.
10.10 am: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut says the Sena, NCP and the Congress will meet Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari later in the day, ANI reports.
10.01 am: Shiv Sena leader Anil Desai arrives at the Supreme Court for the joint petition filed by his party, the Nationalist Congress Party and Congress against the government formation by Devendra Fadnavis, ANI reports.
9.30 am: Nationalist Congress Party leader Chhagan Bhujbal has arrived at Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s home to hold talks, reports ANI.
9.20 am: Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik tells ANI “52 MLAs of the party have come back to us, one more is in touch with us”. Daulat Daroda and Anil Patil were brought from Gurugram to Mumbai late on Sunday night by Nationalist Youth Congress President Dheeraj Sharma and Nationalist Student Congress chief Sonia Doohan. While MLA Nitin Pawar has also been flown back to Mumbai, Narhari Zirwal is on his way from Delhi.
9.16 am: Rebel Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar held closed-door discussions with Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis late on Sunday night. It came hours after Ajit Pawar was locked in a Twitter war with his uncle and party President Sharad Pawar.
9.15 am: The BJP is trying its level best to win majority in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, setting itself a target of gaining the support of 170 to 180 legislators, reports Hindustan Times. The half-way mark in the 288-member house is 145. “We are relying on Ajit Pawar, and he is confident of bringing in 27-29 MLAs,” the newspaper quotes a senior BJP leader as saying. “For years now, he has been managing the day-to-day affairs of the party and he funded election expenses of so many of his party MLAs. He has also helped some Congress and Sena legislators.”
9.14 am: A three-judge Supreme Court bench of Justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna have asked the Centre to produce by 10.30 am the letter sent by BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari staking claim to form the government, and Koshyari’s order revoking the President’s Rule in the state.