Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who rushed to organise an oath ceremony for Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday morning, has given the BJP government in Maharashtra 14 days to prove majority in the assembly, people familiar with the development told Hindustan Times on Monday. The deadline starts from Saturday morning after the Centre revoked President’s rule in Maharashtra a little before 6 am and Fadnavis took oath as Chief Minister.
Fadnavis’ early morning oath ceremony sparked off a huge controversy, particularly after Nationalist Congress Party boss Sharad Pawar distanced his party from the letter of support handed over to Fadnavis by the NCP’s legislature party chief Ajit Pawar. Ajit has since then been removed by the party.
But all official statements by Raj Bhavan and the chief minister’s office on the new government skipped any mention of the deadline for the new government to clear the trust vote.
There was no word about the details about the number of MLAs whose support was claimed by Fadnavis either. That information, however, came through when Solicitor General Tushar Mehta responded to a query from the Supreme Court and read out excerpts of the Governor’s letter.
According to Tushar Mehta, Fadnavis had cited the letter by Nationalist Congress Party’s Ajit Pawar to claim support of its 54 legislators in addition to the 11 Independent MLAs.
In all, Mehta, who was appearing for the governor’s office, read out portions from the invitation letter sent to Fadnavis that made it clear Fadnavis had claimed support of 170 legislators in the 288-member assembly. The majority mark in the state assembly is 145.
The three-party coalition has approached the Supreme Court against the invitation and asked that the chief minister should be ordered to face a trust vote within 24 hours. A three-judge special bench led by Justice NV Ramana, that first held a special hearing on Sunday, has reserved its verdict for Tuesday.
The 14-day deadline set by the governor implies that if the Supreme Court declines to intervene as argued by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Fadnavis would have till December 7 to muster support.