MUMBAI: Devendra Fadnavis resigned as Maharashtra chief minister at a press conference on Tuesday and said the BJP did not want to indulge in horse-trading. The party will function as a strong opposition and not form a government, he said.
Fadnavis said he would submit his resignation to the governor after the press conference, hours after the Supreme Court ordered the BJP government led by him to prove its majority on the floor of the House by 5 pm on Wednesday.
Ahead of Fadnavis’ press briefing, NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar resigned as deputy chief minister. Fadnavis said Ajit Pawar had submitted his resignation saying that he couldn’t continue in alliance “due to personal reasons”.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde said,“ Numbers matter in a democracy. The majority is important in a democracy and we had the majority which is why we were demanding Fadnnavis’s resignation.”
The Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP combine is likely to stake a claim for government formation today and likely to demand swearing-in of the next chief minister by Wednesday.
At the press conference, Fadnavis said the state election result had been a mandate for the BJP. “We contested elections with Shiv Sena but the mandate was for BJP and I can say that because we contested only 170 odd seats and won 105 seats,” he said.
Most Maharashtra BJP leaders blame Shiv Sena for Fadnavis’s resignation today. “Shiv Sena has insulted the people’s mandate,” party leader Ram Shinde told reporters outside Raj Bhavan.
On Shiv Sena’s demand for the CM post, Fadnavis said that the neither the BJP nor Amit Shah had made the promise.
“Shiv Sena was not even talking to us (after the election)”, he said.
Fadnavis said he doubted the three-wheeler government of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress would be a stable one and said that the BJP would be the “voice of the people” in the assembly.
“My best wishes to the next government but it will face a burden of divergent ideologies. A government with two wheels runs fast, but this new government has three wheels and you can imagine what will happen to it,” he said.
Ajit Pawar’s resignation
Minutes before Fadnavis’ statements, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told reporters that Uddhav Thackeray would be the next chief minister of Maharashtra and serve the full five-year term. Raut also said, “Ajit Pawar is with us now”.
Vishal Wakadkar, the president of NCP’s youth wing in Ajit Pawar’s bastion Pimpri Chinchwad near Pune, confirmed to HuffPost India that Ajit Pawar had resigned as the deputy CM of Maharashtra.
A source close to the NCP leader indicated that he might announce retirement from politics.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court had turned down the BJP’s request to give it time till December 15 to prove its majority.
Sharad Pawar, during a joint meeting of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress MLAs in Hotel Hyatt on Tuesday evening, had warned that he won’t let BJP repeat the Manipur and Goa pattern in Maharashtra.