"Murder Of Democracy": In Parliament, Rahul Gandhi On Maharashtra Drama

As the fate of the Maharashtra government is being decided in the Supreme Court today, interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi led a protest in Parliament premises

Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi protested "murder of democracy" in Maharashtra

Highlights

  • Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi protested in parliament over Maharashtra
  • "Doesn't make any sense to question" the centre: Rahul Gandhi
  • Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP in top court against BJP move in Maharashtra
New Delhi:

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said today it doesn't make any sense to question the centre over the political situation in Maharashtra. Alleging a "murder of democracy" in the state, Mr Gandhi also said that although he wanted to ask questions of the central government but would refrain from doing so. The Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP front is in the Supreme Court today to fight the BJP's stunning Saturday coup, in which Devendra Fadnavis was sworn-in as Chief Minister in a secretive ceremony with the NCP's Ajit Pawar, who led a breakaway faction of 10-11 party MLAs, becoming his deputy.

"There is no point in my asking the question as democracy has been murdered in Maharashtra," Mr Gandhi said in parliament.

Meanwhile, as a three-member bench of the top court decides on the fate of Mr Fadnavis' government, interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi led a protest in Parliament premises. A large gathering of Congress leaders and party workers, carrying banners and chanting slogans, demanded that the BJP "stop murder of democracy".

Inside parliament the Lok Sabha was adjourned following protests by Congress MPs who stormed the Well of the House. Speaker Om Birla ordered the removal of two party members - TN Prathapan and Hibi Eden.

The Rajya Sabha was also adjourned - till 2 pm - after similar protests by the Congress and other opposition parties, including the DMK and the Left, began shouting anti-BJP slogans.

Chaos broke out in Maharashtra on Saturday morning after NCP leader Ajit Pawar appeared to break ranks with his uncle, party chief Sharad Pawar, and join the BJP in its audacious bid to form the government.

The move, coming hours after a tripartite meeting between the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP, which was attended by Ajit Pawar, appeared inches away from forming the new government in Maharashtra, stunned the three parties, who moved the Supreme Court on Sunday.

In today's hearing the BJP-led government in the state said it had the support of all 54 NCP MLAs; this, in addition to 105 of its own MLAs and some independents, will push it past the 145-seat majority mark in the Assembly. The NCP countered by claiming that 51 of those 54 MLAs would back a Sena-Congress-NCP front.

The BJP needs around 40 MLAs to reach that majority mark, prompting allegations of horse trading from the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP.

The back-and-forth between the two sides is only likely to be resolved by a floor test, one of the judges on the three-member bench said. Sources had earlier suggested this could be held by the end of the month; the Sena-Congress-NCP have demanded it be held as soon as possible.

In a series of secretive manoeuvres President's Rule was revoked at 5.47 am on Saturday and, by 8 am, Mr Fadnavis was sworn in as Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar became his deputy.

With input from ANI, PTI

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