The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress government in Maharashtra will prove its majority in the Assembly on Saturday afternoon, a day after Thackeray assumed charge as the chief minister.
Pro tem Speaker Dilip Walse Patil will conduct the floor test through a head count around 2 pm on Saturday, according to the Hindustan Times.
On Friday, Nationalist Congress Party legislator Patil was appointed the Pro tem Speaker, replacing former Speaker Kalidas Kolambkar of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Kolambkar was appointed interim Speaker on November 26. On Saturday, BJP leader Chandrakant Patil said Dilip Walse Patil’s appointment was illegal. “The new government is violating all rules,” he alleged, according to ANI. “We are filing petition with governor, and might also approach [the] Supreme Court.”
A special two-day session of the assembly began on Saturday. Leaders of the ruling alliance, the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, were expected to meet at the Vidhan Bhavan at 9.30 am to discuss the floor test. While initially the alliance had claimed the support of 166 legislators, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said on Saturday that its strength is more than 170 in the 288-member Assembly.
The Assembly speaker and the leader of Opposition will be appointed on Sunday, following which Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari will address a joint session of both Houses. Nana Patole will be the Congress candidate for the Speaker’s post, said Balasaheb Thorat while the BJP has nominated Kisan Kathore for the post.
Thackeray and six ministers – Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai from the Sena, NCP leaders Chhagan Bhujbal and Jayant Patil, and Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat and Nitin Raut – took oath on Thursday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena, which had ruled the state for the last five years had formed a pre-poll alliance, but fell out after the Assembly election results were declared on October 24. The BJP had emerged the single-largest party with 105 seats in the 288-member Assembly, the Sena came second with 56 seats. The Nationalist Congress Party was able to secure 54 seats, and the Congress 44.
Despite having enough seats to form a government together, the two allies bickered over power-sharing – the chief minister’s post and Cabinet portfolios – resulting in the Shiv Sena starting negotiations with the ideologically different Congress and NCP instead.
With no outcome in sight then, the Centre imposed President’s Rule in Maharashtra on November 12. The Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP continued negotiations to form an alliance, and on November 22 evening, Sharad Pawar announced that Uddhav Thackeray had been unanimously chosen to head the new government. But BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and NCP’s Ajit Pawar took oath as the chief minister and deputy early on November 23, taking the alliance as well as political observers by complete surprise.
The Sena-NCP-Congress moved the Supreme Court against the Maharashtra governor’s decision to invite the BJP to form government. Hours after the top court ordered a floor test to be conducted on Wednesday, Fadnavis resigned as the chief minister and Ajit Pawar as his deputy on Tuesday. Fadnavis conceded that the BJP had failed to form the government, and Ajit Pawar came back to the NCP.