New Delhi: The political pot-boiler in Maharashtra has been extended to by another day, with the Supreme Court on Monday announcing that it would pass an order on floor test in the House on Tuesday, paving the way for government formation in the state.
The apex court was hearing the Shiv Sena-Natonalist Congress Party-Congress combine's plea against Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to swear in the Bharatiya Janata Pary-led Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister, and NCP rebel, Ajit Pawar, as Deputy Chief Minister in the wee hours of Saturday.
The SC bench, comprising Justices N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna, will announce the order at 10.30 a.m on Tuesday on whether to advance the floor test for proving majority of the Fadnavis government, according to LiveLaw.
The court had, in a special sitting on Sunday, called for submission of all correspondence between Fadnavis and the Governor to be submitted by 10.30 a.m on Monday morning, said LiveLaw.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the letter by Ajit Pawar, which had been submitted to the SC, had pledged support of 54 NCP legislators and had also referred to Pawar as the leader of the NCP legislative party. He also read out the letter by the Governor inviting Fadnavis to form the government, reports LiveLaw, adding that the “court cannot question his exercise of discretion.” He said he was appearing on behalf of the secretary to the Governor.
Appearing on behalf of Fadnavis, Mukul Rohatgi cited the distinction with the case of the Karnataka Assembly. Here the Governor gave opportunity to all political parties and after all of them failed, President’s Rule was imposed, he said, adding that the Governor took a decision to cll Fadnvais only on the basis of the letter of support from 54 MLAs submitted by Ajit Pawar, adding that the attack on the Governor was “completely unfounded,”LiveLaw reported.
Meanwhile, PTI reported that the BJP-led Central government on Monday maintained that it had support of all 54 NCP legislators to form the government and sought two to three days’ time to reply to the plea against Koshyari’s decision.
On the other side, appearing for the Sena, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said the combined had affidavits from 154 Maharashtra MLAs and the BJP should be asked to prove its majority within 24 hours if it has the numbers.
Sibal referred to Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray being declared the next Maharashtra chief minister at a press conference of the three parties.
"Where was national emergency to revoke President's Rule at 5.27 a.m and CM being administered oath at 8 a.m next morning," Sibal asked, while questioning the “haste” by which President's rule was revoked and a new government was formed in Maharashtra in the wee hours of Saturday.
"(Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress) Combine has affidavits of 154 Maharashtra MLAs supporting it. If the BJP has numbers, then they should be asked to prove majority within 24 hours," Sibal said.
Sibal also said that he has produced affidavits sworn by 154 MLAs, which rejected the stand taken by Pawar.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the NCP and the Congress, termed it a "fraud of the worst kind" and asked whether a single NCP MLA told Ajit Pawar that he supported him to go with the BJP.
“When both sides are saying ok to the floor test, why should the court wait for affidavits with replies,” Singhvi asked, also mentioning that Ajit Pawar had been removed as the chief of the NCP legislative party, according to LiveLaw.
Meanwhile, twists and turns in the political drama continued wit boht sides claiming majority support and straining hard to keep their respective flocks together. The alliance trio, Sena-NCP-Congress, reportedly has already submitted a letter of support by 154 legislators to Governor Koshyari’s office. The NCP also managed to trace three of its “missing” legislators from Gurugram in Haryana.
(with inputs from PTi)