In another dramatic development in Maharashtra’s politics, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his deputy Ajit Pawar on Tuesday resigned from their posts ahead of the floor test ordered by the Supreme Court. The NCP, the Congress and the Shiv Sena meanwhile unanimously elected Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray as the chief ministerial candidate.

The joint meeting of the NCP, the Congress and Sena MLAs and leaders resolved to form a ‘Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi’ (MVA) to form the government and selected Uddhav Thackeray as the leader of the front and also as its chief ministerial candidate.

The MVA has the support of 162 MLAs in the house of 288 and has approached the Governor to stake claim to form the government under Thackeray’s leadership. The MVA has drafted a common minimum programme promising allegiance to the Indian Constitution and the welfare of the people.

Speaking at the meeting, Thackeray said that his government would work for the common people. “I take this responsibility. I am not alone, you all (MLAs) are CM,” he said. “My government will not be vindictive. But don’t create hurdles before us,” Thackeray warned the BJP.

He plans to take the oath at Shivatirtha in Mumbai on December 1.

BJP: Lacking numbers

Announcing his resignation, Fadnavis said the BJP decided to stake claim to form the government on the basis of support offered by NCP leader Ajit Pawar.

“Ajit Pawar was the leader of the NCP in the State legislature. He decided to cooperate with us (to form the government). He gave us a letter of support signed by the NCP MLAs, based on which we formed the government,” he said.

“Today the court ordered a floor test. Ajit Pawar met me and said that he would not continue with the alliance and offered his resignation. Hence, we don’t have the majority,” Fadnavis added.

He added: “We decided not to indulge in horse trading. We formed the government only because we had the support of the NCP. Now, as Ajit Pawar has resigned, (even) I am going to resign. I am going to meet the Governor and submit my resignation.”

On Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court directed that a floor test be conducted on Wednesday in the Maharashtra assembly for Fadnavis to prove his majority. Fadnavis and the BJP were banking on Ajit Pawar to woo NCP MLAs.

Ajit Pawar, a member of the State Assembly, is the nephew of NCP President Sharad Pawar, who joined the BJP-led government on Saturday claiming that he has the support of all 54 NCP MLAs.

However, 51 party MLAs have declared their allegiance to Sharad Pawar and Ajit has been left with just two MLAs.