Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday night staked claim to form the next government in Maharashtra with support from the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress. He met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari soon after a joint meeting of the three parties’ MLAs, who chose Thackeray as their nominee for the chief minister’s post. The swearing-in is scheduled for Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the Bharatiya Janata Party gave up on its effort to retain its three-day-old government after rebel NCP leader Ajit Pawar withdrew support and quit as deputy chief minister. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stepped down on the fourth day into his second term as the BJP would no longer have enough MLAs to win a floor test ordered by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Here are the developments from the day:
11.15 pm: The alliance has rescheduled the swearing-in to Thursday, November 28, reports ANI.
10.29 pm: NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal urges party chief Sharad Pawar to persuade Ajit Pawar to return to the party, PTI reports.
10.08 pm: Ajit Pawar is meeting Sharad Pawar at the latter’s home.
9.58 pm: Uddhav Thackeray stakes claim at the Raj Bhavan, reports PTI.
9.43 pm: BJP MLAs are meeting at the party office in Mumbai, ANI reports.
9.35 pm: Leaders of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress arrive at the Raj Bhavan to stake claim, ANI reports.
8.48 pm: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut says the party will invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for Uddhav Thackeray’s swearing-in ceremony, ANI reports.
8.33 pm: Uddhav Thackeray says, “I’m ready to answer all questions raised by Devendra Fadnavis. I am not scared of anything. Lies are not part of Hindutva. When needed, you hug us, and when not needed, you leave us. You tried to keep us away.”
He tells the MLAs, “I accept the responsibility given by all of you. I’m not alone but you all are CM with me. What has happened today is the actual democracy. Together we will wipe off the tears of farmers in the state. We will make this Maharashtra once again that Maharashtra which Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj dreamt of.”
8.14 pm: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray tells MLAs at the joint meeting: “I had never dreamed of leading the state. I would like to thank Sonia Gandhi and others. We are giving a new direction to country by keeping faith on each other.”
8.10 pm: Uddhav Thackeray will meet the governor at 9 pm, reports News18.
8.08 pm: Three representatives of the Maha Vikas Aghadi will meet Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari tonight, and the swearing-in ceremony will be held at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on December 1, says Sharad Pawar, according to ANI.
7.55 pm: The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress formally name Uddhav Thackeray as their nominee for the chief minister’s post, PTI reports. All MLAs pass resolution to the effect.
7.31 pm: All MLAs of the three parties pass a resolution to form their alliance Maha Vikas Aghadi, ANI reports.
6.43 pm: MLAs of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress arrive at Trident Hotel for a joint meeting, ANI reports.
6.30 pm: In a series of tweets, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala demands an apology from Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar. “Their government, which was based on lies and defections, fell down like a pack of cards,” he says. Surjewala says it is a day to fix responsibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
6.29 pm: NCP workers seen with posters saying, “Ajit dada, we love you.”
6 pm: Malik says Devendra Fadnavis’s resignation is victory of the people of Maharashtra, PTI reports. Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress will continue their alliance for the next 20 to 25 years, he claims.
Sharad Pawar, the “Chanakya” of Maharashtra, defeated other “Chanakyas”, Malik adds, apparently referring to BJP chief Amit Shah.
5.56 pm: Malik says Shiv Sena was not formed to practice communal politics. “...they came into existence to serve the people of Maharashtra,” he says, according to ANI. “Shiv Sena was spoiled after joining hand[s] with BJP.”
5.53 pm: NCP leader Nawab Malik says the three-party alliance will last for a long time. “This is the start of BJP’s end, BJP has become very arrogant,” he says.
5.51 pm: Pro tem Speaker Kalidas Kolambkar says the first session of the Assembly begins on Wednesday. “From 8 am onwards, oath will be administered to the MLAs,” he tells ANI.
5.47 pm: Senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal leave for Mumbai, ANI reports.
5.43 pm: BJP MLA Kalidas Kolambkar takes oath as pro tem Speaker, at Raj Bhawan in Mumbai, reports ANI. The Maharashtra governor conducts the swearing-in ceremony.
5.41 pm: Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari says Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari should shed his “RSS-BJP [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bharatiya Janata Party] cloak” and invite the Sena-NCP-Congress coalition to form a government in the state, reports PTI.
5.05 pm: BJP MLA Kalidas Kolambkar will be the pro tem Speaker, ANI reports. He will soon take oath in the Raj Bhavan. “Oath of MLAs to be administered tomorrow when the session begins,” Kolambkar says.
4.44 pm: Devendra Fadnavis submits his resignation as chief minister to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, ANI reports.
4.33 pm: Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan says the party has requested the Maharashtra governor to invite the Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress alliance to form the government in the state, reports PTI.
4.28 pm: The Shiv Sena, the NCP, and the Congress will hold a joint press conference this evening, says Congress leader KC Venugopal. “In the meeting, [the] leader of [the] joint legislative party will be elected, I think Uddhavji will be elected,” he tells ANI.
Venugopal describes Fadnavis and Pawar’s resignation as a “victory of constitutional democracy”. He says the BJP thought they will form the government through horse-trading.
4.23 pm: Fadnavis reaches the Maharashtra governor’s residence, reports ANI.
4.07 pm: The BJP leader says he will submit his resignation as chief minister to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari after the press conference.
4.05 pm: “These other parties have just one agenda – keep the BJP out,” he says, according to NDTV. “That is all they care about. We care about the people and the development of the country.”
4.04 pm: Fadnavis says the BJP will become the “voice of the people as Opposition”. He thanks the saffron party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP National President Amit Shah, and the party’s Working President JP Nadda for trusting him.
4 pm: The former chief minister says the BJP was invited to form the government as the Maharashtra Assembly’s term was over. Fadnavis says the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance took days to come up with a common minimum programme.
“They cannot form the government as the three parties in the alliance have completely different ideologies,” he says, according to The Indian Express.
3.55 pm: Fadnavis says the Shiv Sena knew that contesting in alliance by dividing the seats would help their bargaining power. The chief minister refutes horse-trading allegations, says the party decided not to form the government.
3.48 pm: “Looking at the current scenario, I also resign as the chief minister of Maharashtra,” he says, according to NDTV. “I thank the people of Maharashtra for giving me the opportunity to serve them. We worked for everyone, and every sector. There was a lot of work done in the last five years, and I am very happy with it.”
3.43 pm: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announces that he is stepping down from the post, around an hour after his deputy Ajit Pawar quit, reports NDTV.
3.41 pm: “Let me make it clear – we never ever promised them what they claimed after the result was declared,” Fadnavis says, according to NDTV. He says the saffron party got fewer seats as it contested on fewer seats.
3.37 pm: Fadnavis says the BJP emerged as the single-largest party after the Assembly elections [with 105 seats], according to NDTV.
3.35 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis addresses a press conference.
3.23 pm: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut says Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has resigned from his post. “Ajit dada has resigned and he is with us,” he says, according to ANI. “Uddhav Thackeray will be the chief minister of Maharashtra for five years.”
2.54 pm: Moments before news of Ajit Pawar’s resignation broke, Union minister Ramdas Athawale told reporters that “NDA doesn’t have the majority yet” and expressed hope that Ajit Pawar “will bring his MLAs”, according to ANI.
2.47 pm: NCP leader Jayant Patil refuses to comment on Ajit Pawar’s resignation, reports ANI. “It is you from whom I have come to know about the resignation of Ajit Pawar,” he tells reporters. “I don’t know about it, I would like to make a comment on it only after getting to know everything about it.”
2.44 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah reportedly met after the Supreme Court verdict to decide the BJP’s next move in Maharashtra, reports NDTV.
2.43 pm: NCP leader Jayant Patil says he is hopeful that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari will listen to the anti-BJP alliance and appoint Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat the pro tem Speaker, reports ANI.
2.35 pm: Ajit Pawar has resigned as Maharashtra deputy chief minister, reports NDTV. This comes ahead of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ press conference at 3.30 pm.
2.02 pm: BJP leader Ram Madhav takes a dig at the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress. “Majority has to be proven not in hotels or elsewhere but on the floor of the House,” ANI quotes him as saying. “We are confident that on the floor of the house our govt will be able to prove its majority.”
2 pm: The Shiv Sena and the NCP are meeting at Sofitel Hotel, according to ANI. NCP leaders Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel, Jayant Patil, Supriya Sule, and Chhagan Bhujbal are present, while the Shiv Sena is represented by Uddhav Thackeray, Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut.
1.59 pm: Legislators of the Nationalist Congress Party, the Shiv Sena and the Congress will hold a joint meeting at 5 pm to elect the leader of their alliance, reports ANI.
1.13 pm: Nationalist Congress Party MP Majeed Memon takes a swipe at the BJP and says the Devendra Fadnavis government was “formed in the dark”, and it will be exposed at Wednesday’s floor test. “It will not be able to tolerate the light and will fall,” NDTV quotes him as saying. “We believe that we have more than 150 MLAs, all of whom will repeat the oath that they took yesterday. There was a rebellion in our house, there was betrayal, but we have rectified it.”
1.09 pm: NCP President Sharad Pawar’s grandson Rohit Rajendra Pawar, who was elected from the Karjat-Jamkhed constituency, expresses happiness with the Supreme Court’s decision. “Our leaders will be able to form a government,” Hindustan Times quotes him as saying.
1.06 pm: Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, and his son and MLA Aditya Thackeray are in Hotel Lemon Tree to brief the party’s legislators, reports News18.
1.04 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lashes out at the Bharatiya Janata Party. “The way Centre behaved in Maharashtra, not certain constitutional norms safe in hands of present establishment,” PTI quotes him as saying.
12.31 pm: Maharashtra Congress President Balasaheb Thorat is elected the Congress Legislative Party leader, reports ANI.
12.28 pm: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says he hopes the NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress will be able to form the government in Maharashtra, reports ANI. “We all respect the Supreme Court, we should respect its judgement,” he adds.
12.24 pm: BJP leader Rao Saheb Danve expresses confidence to prove majority tomorrow. “Tonight at 9 pm, all BJP MLAs will meet at Garware Club in Mumbai,” he tells ANI.
12.23 pm: Congress MLAs are holding a meeting at JW Marriott Hotel, reports ANI. Senior party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan are present.
12.12 pm: NCP chief Sharad Pawar and senior leader Nawab Malik are at Hotel Sofitel to meet some of the party’s MLAs, reports News18.
12.10 pm: The Supreme Court’s order is not a setback, PTI quotes the BJP as saying.
11.58 am: BJP MLA Haribhau Bagade, who was the Speaker in the previous Assembly, is also at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s home, reports ANI. He is officially the Speaker till his successor assumes charge.
11.46 am: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says truth has won. “The court has given 30 hours, we can prove majority in 30 minutes,” ANI quotes him as saying.
11.44 am: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar arrives at the residence of Devendra Fadnavis, reports ANI.
11.38 am: Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar says he is grateful to the Supreme Court for upholding democratic values and constitutional principles. “It’s heartening that the Maharashtra verdict came on the Constitution Day, a tribute to Bharatratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar!”
11.36 am: Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan also tweets about the court’s verdict. “On this Constitution Day the SC has rightly upheld the democratic spirit enshrined in the Constitution,” he says. “I am sure BJP’s desperation and lust of power will come to an end by tomorrow. The illegitimate CM Devendra Fadnavis must resign.”
11.21 am: Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala also welcomes the top court’s decision. “Those who sought to avoid the ‘floor test’ to rule by stealth and deception stand exposed,” he tweets.
11.20 am: The Supreme Court order is a slap on the face of the “illegitimate” BJP-led government that held the people’s mandate hostage, PTI quotes a Congress spokesperson as saying.
11.17 am: BJP leaders Ashish Shelar, Raosaheb Danve, Girish Mahajan, Bhupendra Yadav are among those who have arrived at Devendra Fadnavis’ home for a meeting of the party’s core committee, reports ANI.
11.15 am: Interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi has reacted to the Supreme Court’s order, reports NDTV. “We [Congress, NCP, and Shiv Sena] will win” the floor test, she tells reporters.
11.13 am: The seniority of an MLA is the prerequisite for choosing a pro tem Speaker. The two most senior leaders in the Assembly are Congress’s Balasaheb Thorat of Congress and Kalidas Kolambkar of the BJP. Apart from them, the names submitted to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari are: Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil of the BJP, his party colleague Babanrao Bhikaji Pachpute, KC Padvi of the Congress, and NCP leader Dilip Walse Patil, reports News18.
11.08 am: Congress leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan calls for Devendra Fadnavis’ resignation. He says the newly elected MLAs will take oath at 11 am on Wednesday. “All three parties [Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena] are satisfied with the Supreme Court order,” ANI quotes him as saying.
11.05 am: Senior NCP leader Nawab Malik says it will be clear before 5 pm on Wednesday “that BJP’s game is over”, reports ANI. He adds that the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress will form a government in the state in a few days.
11 am: After the verdict was announced, senior lawyer Kapil Sibal said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should be restrained from taking policy decisions. But the judges did not say anything, reports Live Law.
10.53 am: The judges have asked the parties to make submissions “by all means” within eight weeks “as the issues regarding judicial review of governor’s decision remains”, reports Live Law.
10.47 am: A pro tem Speaker will be appointed and the only agenda will be to conduct the floor test, according to Bar and Bench.
10.44 am: The proceedings have to be completed by 5 pm tomorrow, Bar reports Bar and Bench.
10.41 am: Justice Ramans says there exists a dispute about the role of the judiciary. “Institutional comity must exist without judicial interference,” Live Law quotes him as saying. “At this interim stage, parties must maintain constitutional morality.”
The floor test will be by open ballot and telecast live.
10.38 am: The Supreme Court has ordered floor test in Maharashtra tomorrow, reports News18.
10.38 am: Justice Ramana is reading out the order, according to News18.
10.37 am: The bench of Justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna has assembled, reports Live Law.
10.15 am: Ajit Pawar has not been seen at government events and meetings, reports News18. He was missing from a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the secretariat on Monday. The deputy chief minister was also not seen at an official 26/11 anniversary programme.
10.11 am: Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party, and the Congress have moved the Supreme Court against the Maharashtra Police’s decision to close nine corruption cases in an irrigation scam allegedly involving Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. This comes a day after the Anti-Corruption Bureau claimed none of the cases closed involved the rebel NCP leader.
10.10 am: Maharashtra Legislature Secretary Rajendra Bhagwat tells ANI that the Assembly secretariat has received a letter claiming Jayant Patil is the MCP Legislative Party leader. “But, decision has to be taken by the Speaker,” he adds. “As of today, decision has not been taken.”
10.02 am: The leaders and MLAs of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress gathered at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Mumbai on Monday evening in an apparent show of strength. A banner placed behind the MLAs’ seats read, “We are 162”, implying that the number of legislators present was 162, well above the Assembly’s majority mark of 145.
10 am: The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on the plea of the Shiv Sena, the NCP, and the Congress for an immediate floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly. The hearing will begin at 10.30 am.
Here are the other developments from Monday: