Key Maharashtra Hearing Today As Top Court Turns Down Centre's Plea

Maharashtra Government 2019: The Sunday hearing comes as the BJP, with some deft political manoeuvring, formed government in Maharashtra yesterday, outsmarting the three parties that were trying to cobble up a front and stake claim.

The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress were cobbling up an alliance when BJP made a comeback.

Highlights

  • Sena-NCP-Congress petitioned against government formation by the BJP
  • Supreme Court asks centre for two key letters to be produced by 10:30 am
  • Sena-NCP-Congress accused Maharashtra Governor of partisanship
New Delhi: Two letters that hold the key to the extraordinary government formation in Maharashtra - one from Devendra Fadnavis claiming majority, the other from the Governor inviting him to form government - has to be submitted in the Supreme Court by 10.30 am today. For now, Mr Fadnavis is safe from the Shiv Sena, Congress and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party's demand that he prove majority by today. The three parties had gone to court after the BJP, with some deft political manoeuvring, formed government in Maharashtra yesterday. As the country woke to the news of Devendra Fadnavis taking oath with Ajit Pawar, Sharad Pawar said his nephew had misled the Governor and did not have the numbers. This morning, BJP MP Sanjay Kakade met Sharad Pawar, claiming it was for personal reasons.

Here are the Top 10 developments in this big story:

  1. A three-judge bench of Justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna said the Centre must produce the two letters by 10.30 am tomorrow. The Sena, Congress and the NCP have said the Governor was "duty bound" to study the claim of Devendra Fadnavis before inviting him to form government. They also claimed that the BJP claim of having support of 54 NCP MLAs is wrong.

  2. The three parties accused Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari of partisanship, saying he made a "mockery of the high office of the Governor".  "The Governor's actions between the intervening night of 22.11.2019 and 23.11.2019 culminating to the swearing in on the 23.11.2019 are a text book example of the Governor acting at the behest of a political party in power at the Centre," the petition read.

  3. Countering the need for hurry, the BJP claimed that the Governor's decision cannot be subject to a judicial review. It had also asked for more time to produce the letters, which was turned down by the court.

  4. "Tomorrow when the court has documents, the top court will listen to both sides and take a decision. When the floor test happens, it will become clear that we have enough MLAs to support us. It will also become clear that when the BJP formed the government overnight, they didn't have enough MLAs to meet the majority mark," Congress's Randeep Surjewala said.

  5. The matter now hinges on numbers, with the alliance and the BJP both claiming majority. The BJP claims it has the support of 54 MLAs of the NCP. The NCP claims it has the support of 50 MLAs, most of whom attended a meeting last evening in which Ajit Pawar was pulled down from the post of the legislature party leader.

  6. The three parties approached the top court after the BJP, in an unexpected twist, captured power in Maharashtra in an overnight coup. President's Rule in the state was called off at 5.47 am and the oath ceremony, attended by few, followed within two hours.But at a press conference later, some of the NCP MLAs who attended the oath ceremony, claimed they ended up at the Governor's residence by a ruse from Ajit Pawar.

  7. Sharad Pawar has claimed he was unaware of Ajit Pawar's intended shift and that his party was still with the alliance. The Sena said Ajit Pawar, who has several corruption cases against him, was arm-twisted into supporting the BJP.

  8. After the court proceedings, hectic meetings started in both camps. "We have the numbers, we will form the government," party sources quoted Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray as saying. NCP chief Sharad Pawar also boosted the morale of his MLAs. The meeting with the MLAs, tucked away in hotels and resorts spread across Mumbai,  was followed by a closed-door meeting between the two leaders. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also held a meeting with his MLAs to decide on a strategy for the floor test.

  9. This morning, BJP MP Sanjay Kakade met Sharad Pawar, claiming it was for personal reasons. Mr Pawar had met PM Modi last week. While the ostensible reason was Maharashtra's farm crisis, the 45-minute meeting had caused a huge buzz amid the rapidly changing political scenario.

  10. The NCP and the ideologically disparate Sena and the Congress, had ironed out most of the niggles ahead of taking power as an alliance. The Common Minimum Programme was settled, so was having Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Minister and the leader of the alliance. A decision on the Speaker was pending and there were plans to hold further talks on Saturday.



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