In a stunning political development, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar as the new Deputy Chief Minister early on Saturday.
Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari administered the oath of office to the two leaders at a function in Raj Bhavan held around 8 am today, with the presence of a few BJP and NCP leaders, and other government officials.
Soon after, Fadnavis said that the Governor would give them a letter instructing when to prove the new government’s majority on the floor of the Assembly.
He added that the cabinet would be expanded at a later date.
The surprise move comes at a time when deliberations between Congress, NCP, and Shiv Sena seemingly reached the final stage on Friday.
After a tripartite meeting between Shiv Sena, Congress, and NCP, Sharad Pawar had confirmed on Friday that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will lead the alliance in Maharashtra.
After taking oath as the Maharashtra Chief Minister for the second consecutive term, Devendra Fadnavis said, “People had given us a clear mandate, but Shiv Sena tried to ally with other parties after results, as a result, President’s rule was imposed. Maharashtra needed a stable govt not a ‘khichdi’ government.”
He also expressed his gratitude to NCP’s Ajit Pawar for supporting the BJP.
“I would like to express my gratitude to NCP’s Ajit Pawar ji, he took this decision to give a stable government to Maharashtra and come together with BJP. Some other leaders also came with us and we staked claim to form government,” Fadnavis said.
Meanwhile, Ajit Pawar said that his party decided to go with the BJP to form a stable government in Maharashtra.
“From result day to this day no party was able to form the government. Maharashtra was facing many problems including farmer issues, so we decided to form a stable Govt,” Pawar said after taking oath as Deputy CM.
Soon after Devendra Fadnavis took oath as the new Maharashtra Chief Minister on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate him.
PM Modi also congratulated NCP’s Ajit Pawar.
Congratulations to @Dev_Fadnavis Ji and @AjitPawarSpeaks Ji on taking oath as the CM and Deputy CM of Maharashtra respectively. I am confident they will work diligently for the bright future of Maharashtra.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 23, 2019
BJP President and Union Home Minister, Amit Shah also congratulated Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar on taking oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, respectively.
मुझे विश्वास है कि यह सरकार महाराष्ट्र के विकास और कल्याण के प्रति निरंतर कटिबद्ध रहेगी और प्रदेश में प्रगति के नये मापदंड स्थापित करेगी।
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) November 23, 2019
Meanwhile, according to reports in ANI, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar was part of discussions for Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government formation. He had given his assent to Ajit Pawar.
Sources quoted by news agency ANI said that Ajit Pawar is the leader of Parliamentary board of NCP and no decision of NCP is taken without Sharad Pawar’s assent.
The BJP had won 105 seats in the 288-member assembly followed by Shiv Sena 56, NCP 54 and Congress 44.