Non-BJP govt: The idea that changed the political scenario in Maharashtra
The coming together of the three parties – Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress – began with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s idea that a non-BJP government could be formed in Maharashtra. He took the lead to convince the Congress leadership to come on board despite its apprehensions about an alliance with a right-wing party like the Shiv Sena.
When the talks were about to conclude, his nephew and then NCP legislative leader Ajit Pawar chose to revolt and form a government with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday.
This changed the political situation completely, but the three parties remained together in their animosity towards the BJP, which was built-up over the past five years.
During its tenure, the BJP remained aggressive against rival political parties. Consequently, the newly-elected legislators of the Congress and NCP were keen to keep the party out of power. Ally Uddhav Thackeray, too, took a firm stand that he would not settle for anything less than the chief ministership for half the tenure, which the BJP was not willing to part with. Thackeray’s aides said he was fed up playing the younger brother to the BJP.
As the first step, they decided to keep their flock together and prevent all MLAs from being poached. The Sena’s labour unions came to their rescue.
The Congress decided to take the legal battle in hand with two senior leaders — Abhishek Singhvi and Kapil Sibal — appearing before the Supreme Court, requesting for immediate floor test and no secret ballot voting.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan monitored the hearing in the apex court by camping in New Delhi. Finally, the apex court ordered a floor test on Wednesday with live telecast and no secret ballot. This ensured there was no horse trading for voting on the confidence motion.
“The legal battle was mainly spearheaded by Congress’s two leaders. Their earlier experience in Karnataka and Goa cases, which were similar in nature, made the fight easier. The second big challenge was keeping the MLAs together. The split within the Congress and Sena was unlikely, but bringing the NCP MLAs who had gone with Ajit Pawar and keeping other MLAs united was a task,” said a Congress leader.
The coordination between the top leaders of the three parties was impressive. Pawar, Thackeray and Congress leader Ahmed Patel stayed in touch. Other leaders too worked together, leaving the past behind.
An idea of a grand show of unity, ‘We are 162’, was floated apart from regular meetings between the top leaders. On Monday evening, 158 legislators of the three parties were presented before media.
Pawar also used the occasion to counter the BJP’s argument that Ajit was the group leader of the NCP in legislature and had the authority to issue a whip to the party legislators. The idea was to convince the legislators to vote against BJP.
Prakash Bal, political analyst, said the BJP’s haste and overconfidence in Ajit Pawar by believing that the latter rules the NCP legislative party led to this day.
“The unity among the three parties (Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) played a major role, but it also came from the haste shown by the BJP in removing the President’s rule and getting chief minister (Devendra
Fadnavis) and deputy chief minister (Ajit Pawar) sworn in early Saturday morning,” Bal said.
“Both BJP and Ajit Pawar undermined the political acumen of the NCP chief and the Supreme Court’s
decision proved to be a decisive factor in the political battle.”
In the first Cabinet meeting after taking oath on Wednesday, chief minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy, Tejashwi Yadav, decided to convene the Bihar assembly session on August 24 to seek trust vote. The session was delayed as speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha refused to quit and promoted ruling alliance to move a no-confidence motion. Former speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary said it will be taken first on the day the House convenes.
Two young men were stabbed during a Muharram procession at the Mallasamudra village in Karnataka's Gadag on Tuesday, according to reports. The injured have been identified as Tousif Hosamani and Mushtaq Hosamani. One of the two young men is battling for his life. Both are being treated at the Gadag Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital. Police have registered a case against six men in the incident.
The Campus Front of India has objected to a 'Bharat Mata pooja' scheduled to be held today at a university in Mangaluru - one of the areas at the heart of the hijab ban in Karnataka - and wanted to know why the university had allowed a pooja with a poster holding up a saffron flag instead of the tricolour, news agency PTI reported.
A cloudburst in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu on Thursday led to a house collapse in which a woman and A 55-year-old woman, Chavelu Devi's granddaughter died, while 10 shops were washed away and three vehicles were damaged in the district. The director of the State Disaster Management Authority, Sudesh Mokta said rains during the past 24 hours have disrupted life in the district. The heavy rain also damaged electricity infrastructure in the area. In Mandi district, national highway 21 was blocked after a landslide on Thursday morning.
A team of CBI officials reached Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondol's house in West Bengal's Birbhum district on Thursday morning to question him in connection with the multi-crore cattle smuggling scam. Mondol had earlier skipped summons from the agency at least 10 times citing health conditions. The hospital authorities, however, didn't admit him citing his ailments were chronic in nature. Mondol returned to Birbhum the same day. Mondol, however, skipped it.