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Ajit Pawar resigns as deputy chief minister ahead of floor test in Maharashtra

Nationalist Congress Party’s Ajit Pawar has resigned as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra ahead of a trust ordered by the Supreme Court.

Ajit Pawar hadn’t assumed charge officially. He also skipped the Chief Minister’s first meeting last evening and an event for 26/11 martyrs this morning amid reports of “homecoming”.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will have to prove his majority in the Assembly by 5 pm on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered today. The court also said that the floor test will be telecast live, and the proceedings will be presided by an interim speaker to be appointed by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

The court’s ruling came after the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and BJP — which have worked out a coalition that aspires to rule the state — challenged the Maharashtra Governor’s surprise move to invite the BJP to form the government.

In a surprise ceremony on Saturday when Devendra Fadnavis took oath as the Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar was sworn in as his deputy. He had claimed support of all 54 MLAs of the NCP to become part of the government.

His uncle and party chief Sharad Pawar, however, had contested his claim saying all MLAs are with him and it was junior Pawar’s “individual decision”.

The centre in its argument claimed that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had invited Devendra Fadnavis to form the government based on a letter showing the support of 170 MLAs, including all 54 of the NCP, and independents.

The NCP accused Ajit Pawar of using the NCP letter of support with signatures of MLAs for the Sena-NCP-Congress alliance to ally with the BJP.

The NCP has been saying that all its MLAs are intact except for Ajit Pawar — party chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew and former legislature party leader — who promised support to the BJP paving way for the early morning oath ceremony.

The BJP, which has 105 of its own, needs 40 more MLAs to prove a majority in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly.

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