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Devendra Fadnavis resigns as Maharashtra chief minister

Devendra Fadnavis quit as Maharashtra chief minister on Tuesday, hours after his deputy Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar had tendered his resignation.

‘After this [press conference], I will go to Raj Bhavan and tender my resignation. I wish them all the best whoever will form the government. But that will be a very unstable government as there is huge difference of opinions,’ Fadnavis said at a media briefing.

Fadnavis had taken oath as Maharashtra chief minister for the second term on Saturday morning with his deputy Ajit Pawar. The move had surprised many and the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress alliance decided to approach the Supreme Court against governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to invite Fadnavis to form a government.

He said that the BJP had staked claim to form a government after Ajit Pawar as the leader of NCP decided to tie-up with BJP. ‘The government was formed as Ajit Pawar gave a letter of support of all 54 of his party MLAs,’ said Fadnavis.

Ajit Pawar resigned amid continous efforts by the NCP leadership to bring him back to the party fold. ‘Ajit Pawar met me in the morning today and said he cannot stay in the alliance and resigned. Because of his resignation, we do not have the majority. We had said from the first day that we will not engage in horse trading. We decided to form the government because we thought that the entire NCP group will back us,” said Fadnavis.

The BJP had fought the Maharashtra polls in an alliance with Sena but relations between the decades-old allies soured over sharing the chief minister’s post. The BJP emerged as the single largest party after the polls winning 105 seats. Sena won 56, while the NCP and the Congress got 54 and 44 seats.

‘Clear majority was given to Mahayuti and BJP got maximum 105 seats. We contested with Shiv Sena, but this mandate was for BJP because BJP won 70 percent seats out of all seats we contested,’ Fadnavis said.

In its verdict on Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court had said that the three-day old Fadnavis government in the state has to face a floor test on Wednesday.

A three-judge bench of the court said that the vote will be conducted by a protem or temporary speaker and should be telecast live. The voting cannot be conducted by secret ballot, the court added.

‘In a situation wherein, 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,’ said the court.

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