MUMBAI: It was between 8pm on Friday and 8am on Saturday that the extraordinary drama of forming a government was carried out.
If a former chief minister is to be believed,
or his office started calling his trusted
(NCP) legislators at 8pm on Friday, asking them if they were with Ajit or Sharad Pawar.
“More than a dozen legislators were called. Those who said they were with Ajit Pawar were instructed to reach the residence of NCP leader
early on Saturday,” he said.
Even as the phone lines were busy, at 9.30pm,
submitted a letter to Raj Bhavan staking claim for government formation. Fadnavis stated he had the support of 173 legislators: 105 of his own party, 54 of NCP and 14 Independents.
Past midnight, at 12.30am, Ajit Pawar submitted a letter to governor B S Koshyari saying he had the support of 54 NCP legislators, and based on Fadnavis and Pawar’s letters, the governor, convinced that a stable government could be formed, submitted a report to the Union home ministry recommending withdrawal of President’s rule.
Following this, President’s rule was revoked at 5.47am and a message sent to Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar at 6am to arrive at Raj Bhavan for the swearing-in, which would be held at 8am.
The approval of the Union cabinet for revocation of President’s rule in
was given by the Centre by invoking a special provision (Rule 12) of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules.
This rule gives the prime minister special powers, a home ministry official was quoted as saying by agencies.
Meanwhile, responding to Ajit Pawar’s call, 11 legislators reached Dhananjay Munde’s official residence across Mantralaya by 7am and were soon herded in vehicles to the Raj Bhavan.
“Not only high-profile politicians, even veteran bureaucrats were in the dark over formation of government,” a senior bureaucrat told TOI. The former CM who spoke to this paper said that for a long time, Ajit had been considering engineering a split in the NCP and joining hands with Fadnavis, who too was reportedly keen on his proposal.
“Ajit Pawar was agitated over the delay in formation of the coalition government of Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP. He knocked at BJP’s doors for drafting an action plan, and it was proposed that Ajit should engineer a split in the NCP and extend support to Fadnavis for staking claim. His proposal was accepted by Fadnavis and an action plan drafted,” he said.