Maharashtra Political Crisis

Maharashtra Political Crisis

On 21st October 2019 after the declaration of the result of the 2019 legislative assembly election, a political crisis in the Indian state of Maharashtra occurred over the formation of a new state government. The incumbent BJP Shiv Sena alliance crossed the majority of 145 seats needed in the assembly by winning a total of 161 seats in the alliance. Individually BJP won 105 and SHS won 56 seats. The Opposition INC-NCP Alliance with 106 seats did not reach the majority mark. Individually INC won 44 and NCP won 54 seats.

After the declaration of election results, Shiv Sena declined to support the BJP to form the government, demanding an equal share in power which was promised by BJP. Shiv Sena also demanded the post of chief minister for 2.5 years according to 50-50 promises. But BJP declined such promise and eventually ended up breaking ties with one of their oldest ally Shiv Sena.

No political party was able to prove their majority of 145 seats in the legislative assembly so, the president’s rule was imposed in the state following a recommendation by the Governor of Maharashtra- Bhagat Singh Koshyari. On 8 November 2019, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, a BJP appointee, invited the BJP to form a government as the single largest party. The President’s rule was later revoked and the BJP, led by former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, formed a government with the help of a small fraction of the Nationalist Congress Party, led by Ajit Pawar. However, the BJP was unable to attain the required number to prove the majority. After three days, Fadnavis and Pawar resigned.

The invitation passed to the second largest party, Shiv Sena, to form the government. On 11 November, the Governor invited the NCP to form the government. The next day, after the NCP also failed to gain majority support, the governor recommended the president’s rule to the Council of Ministers of India and the President. This was accepted, and the president’s rule was imposed.

The political crisis concluded when discussions between Shiv Sena, NCP, and INC lead to the formation of a new alliance, Maha Vikas Aghadi. A new government was formed by the Maha Vikas Aghadi, a new alliance of Shiv Sena, the Indian National Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party, under Uddhav Thackeray. A consensus over government formation was finally achieved with Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray appointed Chief Minister after protracted negotiations.

First Government Formation

In the early hours of 23 November, the president’s rule was revoked and BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as Chief Minister for a second consecutive term, while NCP leader Ajit Pawar was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister. On the other side, NCP chief Sharad Pawar announced that Ajit Pawar’s decision to support the BJP was his own and not endorsed by the party. The NCP split into two factions: one led by Sharad Pawar and the other led by his nephew Ajit Pawar.

Later in the day, Ajit Pawar was removed as the parliamentary party leader of the NCP. He clarified that, despite joining hands with BJP, he is an NCP worker and will remain so. The next day Shiv Sena, the NCP, and the INC petitioned the Supreme Court regarding the discretion of the state governor to invite BJP to form the government. Shiv Sena also requested the Supreme Court order the new government to prove the majority in the legislative assembly. On 26 November, the Supreme Court ordered the new government to prove the majority in the legislative assembly by the evening of the next day. The same day, Ajit Pawar and Fadnavis resigned as Deputy Chief Minister and Chief Minister.

Shiv Sena, the NCP, and the INC rounded up their MLAs after Fadnavis’ oath and kept them sequestered in various hotels and buses to prevent horse-trading.

Second Government Formation

The discussions between Shiv Sena, NCP, and INC ended with the formation of a new alliance, Maha Vikas Aghadi. A consensus was finally achieved with Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray appointed Chief Minister after protracted negotiations.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA); a post-election alliance of Shiv Sena, NCP, and INC with other small parties such as the Samajwadi Party and Peasants and Workers Party of India staked the claim to form a new government under the chief ministership of Uddhav Thackeray.

The MVA leaders met the governor and submitted a letter of support to MLAs of MVA. Thackeray was sworn in as the 19th Chief Minister of Maharashtra on 28 November 2019 at Shivaji Park in Mumbai.

In 2022, during a party meeting, Uddhav Thackeray explained his move to pull out of NDA to join UPA. “We supported the BJP wholeheartedly to enable them to fulfill their national ambitions. The understanding was they will go national while we will lead in Maharashtra. But we were betrayed and attempts were made to destroy us in our home. So, we had to hit back”. Thackeray accused BJP of dumping its allies according to its political convenience. He said, “BJP doesn’t mean Hindutva. I stand by my comment that Shiv Sena had wasted 25 years in alliance with BJP”

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