In Maharashtra Drama, BJP’s 170 Number Claim Pit Against 154 Affidavits by Sena-NCP-Congress
Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar shake hands after the oath taking ceremony outside Raj Bhavan in Mumbai. (Image: Special Arrangement)
New Delhi: The contrasting claims by the rival alliances vying to form the government in Maharashtra became a little clearer on Monday as both sides submitted documents before the Supreme Court on where they stand in terms of numbers.
Hearing a petition seeking an immediate floor test in the state, the Supreme Court was told on the Governor’s behalf that current chief minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP had staked claim on November 23 with the support of 170 MLAs and he had no reason to doubt this claim.
While the BJP has 105 MLAs on its own, it got the support of all 54 MLAs from the NCP and 11 lawmakers from independents and smaller parties taking the tally to 170, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
The halfway mark in the Maharashtra assembly is 144.
Mehta also submitted documents to show that NCP’s leader of legislature party Ajit Pawar had submitted a letter of support to the Governor with signatures of 54 NCP MLAs on November 22 after which the recommendation to revoke President’s rule in Maharashtra was made on the morning of November 23.
This was the first time since the surprise oath-taking ceremony held on Saturday morning that the numbers claimed by Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were placed in public domain.
The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress, which has moved its MLAs to hotels near the airport in Mumbai, also claimed to have the numbers in Maharashtra in the Supreme Court as it submitted affidavits offering support from 154 MLAs. The parties demanded that a floor test be held within 24 hours, but the SC reserved its order and will reconvene at 10.30 am on Tuesday.
Although the bench refused to take the affidavits on record saying that it was beyond the scope of the petition, the documents showed where the three-way alliance stands ahead of the imminent floor test.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, arguing on behalf of the alliance, said the parties had the support of 154 MLAs – 56
from the Sena, 48 from the NCP and 44 from the Congress in addition to support from six independents.
According to their claim, as it stands Ajit Pawar is left with only five lawmakers with him after ditching uncle Sharad Pawar and siding with the BJP.