In what can be called as the big embarrassment for the BJP camp ahead of the crucial floor test in Maharashtra Assembly, NCP leader Ajit Pawar has resigned as the Deputy Chief Minister, sources told News Nation on Tuesday. However, Ajit Pawar’s son Parth Pawar has refuted the reports. The development comes hours after the Supreme Court ordered Devendra Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar government to prove majority in the floor test by 5 pm on Wednesday. It should be noted that Ajit Pawar had still not assumed the charge of his office, despite taking the oath on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, in yet another setback for Ajit Pawar, the Nationalist Congress Party had formally appointed Jayant Patil as its legislative party leader. News Nation has learnt that the Maharashtra Assembly officials have also confirmed the same. Maharashtra Assembly’s Secretary Rajendra Bhagwat said that the NCP has formally appointed Patil as its Legislative Party leader. According to the letter submitted by the NCP, now only Jayant Patil will have the whip issuing authority. With this, Ajit Pawar is no longer the Legislative party leader but a simple MLA of the NCP. He has to abide by the whip issued by Jayant Patil should that be the scenario. In case, he fails to do so, he will be disqualified as an MLA under the anti-defection law.
On November 23, in a stunning turn of events in Maharashtra, BJP's Devendra Fadnavis had returned as Chief Minister propped up by NCP's Ajit Pawar, who was made his deputy, just hours after the new alliance of Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress reached a consensus that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will be their chief ministerial candidate.
As the dramatic events leading to the swearing-in of Fadnavis and Pawar at 7.30 a.m. by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari in a hush hush ceremony at Raj Bhavan created fissures in the Nationalist Congress Party(NCP), its chief Sharad Pawar distanced himself from his nephew's dramatic action and said the decision to back Fadnavis for his second consecutive term was his personal choice and not that of the party.
As questions cropped up whether a meeting of the Union Cabinet was held to recommend revocation of the President's rule, a senior home ministry official said the approval was given by the central government by invoking a special provision of The Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules which gives the prime minister special powers.
The Rule 12 says: "Departure from Rules.- The Prime Minister may, in any case or classes of cases, permit or condone a departure from these rules, to the extent he deems necessary".
The prime minister gave this approval, which acts as post-facto approval of the Union Cabinet, the official said.
The swearing in ceremony came as a political shocker, hours after Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray emerged as the Sena-NCP-Congress' consensus candidate for the top post.
Sharad Pawar described Ajit Pawar's decision to join hands with the BJP an act of indiscipline, and said his nephew and other MLAs of the party who have switched sides would attract the provisions of the anti-defection law.