In a dramatic development, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday returned to power in India’s most industrialised state of Maharashtra, ending nearly month-long political stalemate create by a fractured mandate in state assembly elections.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in this morning as Chief Minister, backed by Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party, at a hurriedly-called oath-taking function in Mumbai.
NCP's Ajit Pawar, nephew of Sharad Pawar, was sworn-in as Deputy Chief Minister.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath at the Raj Bhavan here at around 7.30 am local time.
Maharashtra had plunged into a political deadlock when no party or alliance could form a government even a month after the declaration of the Assembly poll results on October 24.
Blaming the BJP’s estranged Hindutva ally Shiv Sena for disrespecting the people's mandate in last month's Assembly polls, Fadnavis said "people had given us a clear mandate but Shiv Sena tried to align with other parties after the results, after which the federal rule was imposed on Maharashtra. The state needed a stable government, not a 'khichdi' government."
Fadnavis said "I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and J P Nadda for giving me the chance to serve people once again," the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader added.
Fadnavis, a hand-picked man of Modi and Shah, was the Chief Minister for five years before fresh assembly polls were held in October.
Ajit Pawar backed the BJP and with the support of Independent legislators and lawmakers of smaller parties, the saffron party decided to stake claim to form the government, he said.
After being sworn-in as the deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar said "from the day the (poll) results were declared on October 24, no party was able to form the government. Maharashtra was facing many problems, including farmers' issues. So we decided to form a stable government."
Sharad Pawar had on Thursday night said there was a consensus among the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Congress and the Shiv Sena that Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray should lead the new government in Maharashtra.
It remains unclear if the NCP has split or all the 54 MLAs of the party have backed the BJP.
The President's rule, imposed in Maharashtra about a fortnight ago, was revoked at 5.47 am Indian time on Saturday.
According to a Home Ministry notification, President Ram Nath Kovind signed the proclamation for revocation of the central rule this morning.
The gazette notification to this effect was issued by Indian Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla at 5.47 am.
Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut on Saturday said NCP leader Ajit Pawar had stabbed the Sena in the back by joining hands with the BJP to form the government in Maharashtra.
Talking to reporters here, Raut also said the state will never forgive Ajit Pawar for this act of his.
"Ajit Pawar's decision does not have the approval of NCP chief Sharad Pawar," Raut claimed. Ends