Maharashtra did not need a ‘khichdi govt’: Devendra Fadnavis after taking oath
The BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday took oath as the chief minister of Maharashtra for the second time in a dramatic turn of events ending the month-long political deadlock in the state.
The Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP’s) leader Ajit Pawar was sworn-in as the deputy chief minister at Raj Bhavan early in the morning.
“People had given us a clear mandate but Shiv Sena tried to ally with other parties after the results after which President’s Rule was imposed. Maharashtra needed a stable government, not a khichdi (mishmash) government,” the new chief minister was quoted as saying by ANI.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the NCP’s Ajit Pawar ji. He took this decision to give a stable government to Maharashtra and come together with the BJP. Some other leaders also came with us and we staked claim to form a government,” Fadnavis said, according to the news agency.
Ajit Pawar also said he came together with the BJP to form a stable government in the state.
“From the result day on October 24, no party was able to form the government. Maharashtra was facing many problems, including farmers issues. So we decided to form a stable government,” Ajit Pawar said after taking oath as the deputy chief minister.
The swearing-in came as a surprise as senior leaders of the NCP and Congress were huddled in talks to thrash out the contours of their alliance with the Shiv Sena till late on Friday. Many of them said on Saturday they were unaware of the turn of events.
Even NCP chief Sharad Pawar insisted that his nephew’s decision was his own and not the party’s.
“Ajit Pawar’s decision to support the BJP to form the Maharashtra Government is his personal decision and not that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his,” Pawar tweeted.
Senior NCP leader Praful Patel also backed the senior Pawar, saying the 78-year-old leader did not prompt his nephew to join hands with the BJP.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut accused Ajit Pawar of “stabbing it in the back” and Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi described the dramatic turn of events as “surreal”.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar are expected to meet later in the day and could address a joint press conference, Raut said.
But the BJP said that a deal was sealed when Sharad Pawar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week in Delhi.
“Everything was finalised during the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar earlier this week in Parliament. We have the support of the NCP MLAs and would not be able to stop MLAs from other parties if they wish to join us in the larger interest,” BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said.
Mungantiwar also claimed that along with 54 MLAs from the NCP, the party has the support of more than 15 members from Independents and smaller allies.
The BJP has 105 members in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly and if Mungantiwar’s claim is true, the party can easily cross the majority mark of 145 members.