Mumbai: A chief minister and his deputy have been sworn in and a government has been formed in Maharashtra, but it is still unclear whether or not it enjoys a majority in the 288-member Assembly.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has given chief minister Devendra Fadnavis time till November 30 to prove his majority on the floor of the House. The BJP has 105 MLAs and needs 40 more to reach the majority mark of 145.
According to sources, the BJP has the support of around 15 Independent MLAs and about 28 to 30 NCP MLAs are with rebel NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who has since been removed as the legislative party leader.
However, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray claimed that the Fadnavis government would not survive the floor test. A senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity, said that Ajit Pawar is in touch with 28 to 30 legislators, including Dhananjay Munde, whom Mr Fadnavis wants to induct into his Cabinet.
Nevertheless, by evening, most of the MLAs close to Ajit Pawar attended the NCP meeting called by Sharad Pawar. “Nearly 50 MLAs are with Sharad Pawar. Mr Fadnavis cannot prove majority in the floor test,” claimed NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad.
However, MLAs attending the party meeting is not an indication of how they will vote in the Assembly, said political analyst Abhay Deshpande.
“After spending their energy on government formation in which the BJP’s national leadership and Union Cabinet have also been involved, it is not possible that the BJP will let NCP MLAs go back so easily. They must be confident of how these MLAs will vote in the Assembly and that is all that matters now,” Mr Deshpande said.
The senior BJP leader also claimed that one should not be surprised if Supriya Sule, daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, is inducted in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet in the future. “The NCP wants to become the number two party in Maharashtra, by spoiling Shiv Sena’s image,” he quipped.
Meanwhile, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) leader Prakash Ambedkar has sought to link Saturday’s political developments in Maharashtra with Sharad Pawar’s recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, though he didn’t take name of the NCP chief. Sharad Pawar had on November 20 met the Prime Minister in Parliament ostensibly to discuss farmers’ distress in Maharashtra