Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has pinned the reason for government formation slipping away from the BJP's hands on the vagaries of "political arithmetic".
The BJP with 105 MLAs - the single-largest party in the 288-member - couldn't form government after the new Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine outmanoeuvred it.
"The BJP got people's mandate as ours is the single largest party. Our strike rate was 70 per cent in the October 21 assembly polls, but political arithmetic prevailed over merit. Those who got around 40 per cent marks in the election have formed the government," Mr Fadnavis said in the assembly today after he was made Leader of Opposition, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
"We are accepting it as part of democracy," Mr Fadnavis said.
A resolution was moved by Shiv Sena leader and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to congratulate his predecessor on being appointed Leader of Opposition. Mr Thackeray's party fell out with the BJP over a 50:50 formula of sharing chief ministership, sparking a long battle to form government and the eventual entry of Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress in negotiations.
The BJP's rivals in the house taunted Mr Fadnavis over his pre-election comment that he would return as chief minister.
"I did say I will come back, but forgot to give you the timetable for it. But I can assure you one thing, you need to wait for some time," Mr Fadnavis said. "I not only announced several projects in the last five years, but started work on them as well. You never know, I may come back to inaugurate them," he said.
The Congress's Nana Patole has been elected Speaker of the Maharashtra assembly. Mr Patole's election came after the BJP took back the name of Kisan Kathore as the party's nominee with minutes to go before the 10 am deadline today.
It is a tradition in the Maharashtra assembly for the Speaker to be elected unopposed.