Game over for BJP in Maharashtra? Ajit Pawar and Fadnavis resigns, now Governor Koshiyari under scanner

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Devendra Fadnavis

Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar resign ahead of floor test:

After the decision of the Supreme Court to conduct the floor test in Maharashtra elections tomorrow, both Ajit Pawar and Devendra Fadnavis have resigned from their hurriedly assumed post. A day before a court-ordered floor test, the BJP-Ajit Pawar alliance have resigned claiming not to have the required number anymore. In a press conference, where Fadnavis declared that he would resign following the resignation of his deputy Ajit Pawar. He said that the Bhartiya Janta Party [BJP] has been evident since day one ‘to not engage in horse-trading’. He said the decision to form the government was finalized upon based on the support of the NCP. Since Ajit Pawar has resigned, Fadnavis is also set to submit his resignation. He has also remarked in his press conference:

“The BJP had the people’s mandate. We tried to form a government according to the people’s mandate, but the Shiv Sena realized it was a numbers game and we realized their bargaining power could increase,” he added.

Soon after a deadly-duo session, the resignation of Fadnavis came in

Soon after the Supreme Court ordered the hurriedly formed government of Fadnavais and Ajit Pawar to face a trust vote, the champions on the BJP- PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah convened a meeting. The decision of Fadnavis’s resignation has followed after the meeting. The ‘big two’ in the meeting discussed the options they can avail in Maharashtra and the probable results of the floor test due to be conducted tomorrow. The duo then sent across a message leading to the resignation of Fadnavis from the post of the chief minister. 

Fadnavis and Pawar swore in a rather unusual manner on Saturday at 07:50 AM. The oath was challenged by the NCP-Congress-Sena alliance in the Supreme Court and was alleged to be ‘undemocratic and unconstitutional’. In the Maharashtra results, the BJP has won a total of 105 seats in the state assembly having 288 members and were in requirement of 40 more to form a government in the majority. Before the unusual turn of tables, Uddhav Thackrey was set to be the Chief Minister of the state. Mr Fadnavis was sworn in as the CM, due to an overnight turn of Ajit Pawar, claiming support based on a presumption of support from 54 NCP MLAs. 

Number or No Number? The Political melodrama in Maharashtra

However, since the swearing-in, more than 50 MLAs have returned to the part fold alleging support. In a show of strength, 68 MLAs participated in a press conference tomorrow at Hyatt, Mumbai pledging their allegiance. In a favourable decision of the Supreme Court on the matter, it ordered a floor test to prove the majority ‘within 24 hours’. It held:

“If the floor test is delayed, there is a possibility of horse-trading, it becomes incumbent upon the Court to act to protect democratic values. An immediate floor test, in such a case, might be the most effective mechanism to do so,” 

After a rat and goose chase, the BJP has run out of tactics to diminish the value of democracy in India. The swearing-in of Fadnavis was nothing but a sham, another like many hosted by the BJP. The turnout of events is a set-back to lotus operation headed under the Chanakya Niti of Amit Shah. The holding back of NCP MLAs against their wishes was a show of the horse-trading, the BJP has initiated but could not complete. It is nothing but a mockery of the politics and a display of desperation to assume power in the financial capital of the country. It is being commented that the BJP was hell-bent on doing Karnataka in Maharashtra before we were 168 pledge yesterday. And one would think why not. To assume power in the wealthiest state of the country, the business and finance hub, it was imperative to have a tussle over assuming power. In fact, what was on the stake was the government-funded bullet train project, requiring funds to be released by the state government. BJP had invested time and energy behind the said project, and the fate of the same will be unsure given the change in hands. 

Given the state of the economy of the nation, the indictors plunging down the scale, this would have been the perfect opportunity to jolt on for the BJP. In this chess-board like situation, the mastermind leader of the NCP, Sharad Pawar has ended with a dead-end check-mate. BJP tried all ends, from an oath ceremony with the sunrise to giving a clean-chit to Ajit Pawar in nine cases, but none has seemed to meet the terms. The magic wand of the BJP, known to clean corruption charges did work, but not as intended. 

‘Political Vandalism and Social Vulgarism’, says retd Justice

 The political drama has been mocked across the country and condemned. It has been called a show of ‘political vandalism and social vulgarism’ by Justice (retd.) Sawant. However, it is unsure whether the BJP has learnt its lesson, or there is still a long way to go. With elections approaching in Jharkhand and New Delhi, the moral grounds, which have often be boasted about by the BJP, seems to be shaken. 

Question mark on the role of Koshyari, political loyalty revealed?

Though the Court has refused to review the decision of the Governor, given the special status under Article 361 of the Indian Constitution, doubts linger. A sudden revocation of the emergency at 05:47 AM was not only unusual but has attracted severe suspicion on the intent of Bhagat Singh Koshiyari. While the political parties were playing a game they are used to, the rubber stamp of the Governor was unlikely. It is time for Koshyari to know that his RSS-BJP cloak is now visible to the world. The Chanakya Niti of the party led by what can now be conveniently called the deadly-duo is out in the open, to be nothing more than a compromise of the democratic values.

End-Game or just a pause to Operation Kamal?

The question mark on the decision of the Governor was also expressed before the Supreme Court. Kapil Sibal, representing the Shiv Sena has alleged that the Governor is acting under the direct instructions of the BJP to fulfil their political motives. He has accused the Governor on inviting the BJP to form the government without any letters asserting majority in the house. The decision of the Governor came in complete ignorance of the asserted majority of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, post-poll. It is not likely of him to believe the numbers which sprung magically given no airs favouring the BJP. Assuming the office of the Governor, he was duty-bound to have physically verified every signature and only then reach on a decision of appointing the chief minister or inviting a party to form the government. But it seemed operation lotus had blinded the office to find ways around this political melodrama. 

In the given situations, who would say the Congress is exaggerating in demanding the resignation of Governor Koshiyari. Legally the game is in favour of the Governor, given the immunity under Article 361 but morally he is now pulled from all sides. Given the record, it is not likely for the BJP to end the melodrama on this note. What becomes interesting is what more desperate measures are left with the BJP to reveal to the world in their hunger for power. So is operation lotus has a game over or has it paused to hit back the political fora harder? 

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