Ajit Pawar resigns as Dy chief minister, a day before Maharashtra floor test
Ajit Pawar, the 60-year-old Nationalist Congress Party leader who had pledged his party’s support to the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra, has resigned as Deputy Chief Minister.
Ajit Pawar’s exit could jeopardise the survival three-day-old Fadnavis government which had staked claim on the strength of Pawar’s letter that 54 Nationalist Congress Party support the Bharatiya Janata Party government.
But the NCP boss Sharad Pawar promptly distanced himself from his nephew Ajit Pawar and stayed put with coalition in the making that also comprises Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and Congress.
Pawar’s exit from the government comes after continuing efforts by the NCP to persuade him to pull out of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state. The last such effort was made this morning, around the same time that the Supreme Court delivered its verdict to fast-track Fadnavis’ floor test. In this, the top court held that it was important to quickly hold the floor test to minimise the possibility of horse-trading.
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The top court’s verdict took the advantage away from the Devendra Fadnavis government.
Ajit Pawar had told the new batch of emissaries including former Union minister Praful Patel this morning that he would consider their suggestions to stick with the party.
Pawar headed straight to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ official residence Varsha. There has been no word about their discussions at this meeting but it has been speculated that he conveyed his decision to exit the three-day-old government.
People familiar with the development said Ajit Pawar gave his resignation to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis; a copy was also sent to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
In his first comment, senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse hinted that the short-lived BJP-Ajit Pawar alliance was a compromise to retain power and had not gone down well with people either.
“The mandate was for BJP-Sena that didn’t work. So, this alliance with Ajit Pawar was only a compromise and a last resort to save the chief minister’s post and our government. What happened was unfortunate and people did not like this decision,” Khadse said.
Fadnavis was sworn-in as chief minister on November 23 morning after the Centre and the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari overnight completed formalities to revoke President’s Rule. but the survival of Fadnavis’ second term in office was conditional on getting support of 145 members in the 288-seat assembly.
The BJP had emerged as the single largest party in the assembly with 105 seats but was no where close to the majority mark, not without the support of the Shiv Sena. After Uddhav Thackeray’s party walked out over sharing the chief minister’s post and teamed up with the NCP and Congress, the BJP made its move.