Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will face a floor test in the Assembly this afternoon. The new government, also called Maha Vikas Aghadi, led by Uddhav Thackeray will have to prove majority in the 288-member assembly.
Together, the three parties — Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress – have 154 MLAs, 10 more than the majority mark. They also have the support of some independents, taking their tally to 165.
NCP leader Dilip Walse Patil has been appointed as the pro-tem or interim Speaker for the proceedings at 2 pm.
“We shall easily prove our majority in the House today,” said NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has asked Thackeray to prove majority by December 3.
The BJP, however, disagrees. “If there is secret voting, they will not be able to win. This is an open challenge,” the BJP’s Chandrakant Patil said.
The Speaker of the assembly will be elected tomorrow. The Aghadi has fielded Congress’s Nana Patole, while the BJP has announced that MLA Kishan Kathore will be its candidate for the post. The new Speaker will then announce the name of the Leader of Opposition in the assembly.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and six ministers, two each from the three alliance partners were sworn in at the historic Shivaji Park on Thursday after a blockbuster month that was full of stunning twists and unexpected events. The glittering ceremony was attended by top opposition leaders, Devendra Fadnavis industrialists, including the Ambani family and others.
The Sena chief was the eighth person to take oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister without being an MLA. According to provisions of the Constitution, any leader who is not a member of the Assembly or Council has to become member of the legislature within six months of taking oath of the post.
The Sena had emerged the second largest party in last month’s elections with 56 seats. The BJP, its partners of over three decades, was the largest party with 105 seats. Together they had comfortably crossed the majority mark. But the alliance disintegrated over the Sena’s insistence on rotational chief ministership and an equal division of ministries, which the BJP firmly rejected.
Uddhav Thackeray then approached the NCP and the Congress. Endless meetings and discussions among ideologically contrasting parties followed in Delhi and Mumbai.
Just when the soon-to-be partners were about to seal an alliance with Uddhav as its leader, the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis stunned them with an unannounced oath ceremony last Saturday. NCP’s Ajit Pawar, who was part of all Aghadi discussions, also took oath as Chief Minister Fadnavis’ deputy after promising all 54 NCP MLAs to the BJP.
The Aghadi immediately approached the Supreme Court which on Tuesday ordered Devendra Fadnavis to prove his majority within 24 hours. Secret ballot wasn’t an option and the trust vote had to be telecast live, the top court said.
By now all NCP MLAs, who had apparently sided with Ajit Pawar, returned to party chief Sharad Pawar. The Aghadi’s majority was on full display at a five-star hotel in Mumbai.
Hours before the crucial floor test, Ajit Pawar exited the two-member government followed by Fadnavis’s resignation leading to the collapse of the BJP-led government in Maharashtra.