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Apex court floor test order, Ajit Pawar’s volte-face made BJP eat humble pie

Our Bureau Pune | Updated on November 26, 2019 Published on November 26, 2019

Ajit Pawar

Sustained persuasion from the party and Pawars along with the Supreme Court’s directive on floor test roiled BJP’s plans

 

Pressure exerted by family members on rebel NCP leader Ajit Pawar and the Supreme Court’s order to hold the floor test on Wednesday forced the BJP to eat humble pie, which resulted in the resignation of Devendra Fadnavis within four days after he took oath as Chief Minister.

The BJP was depending on Ajit Pawar to woo NCP MLAs. Pawar and Fadnavis were banking on the secret ballot on the floor of the House. BJP sources said that Pawar had assured Fadnavis that many NCP MLAs would vote for the BJP.

The major blow to the BJP’s plan to engineer split in other parties on the floor of the House came when the SC asked for the floor test on Wednesday to prove a majority with the live telecast of the entire proceedings. The SC also stated that the floor test will not be conducted by secret ballot.

“In a situation wherein, if the floor test is delayed, there is a possibility of horse-trading, it becomes incumbent upon the Court to act to protect democratic values. An immediate floor test, in such a case, might be the most effective mechanism to do so,” a three-judge Bench led by Justice NV Ramana observed in its order.

The development put BJP in a tight spot and its leaders — who were allegedly assigned to attract MLAs from the Opposition camp — were left clueless. Also the NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress combine had put their MLAs in Mumbai hotels under tight security blanket provided by Shiv Sena cadre. BJP leaders couldn’t even approach these MLAs for discussions.

Pawar’s family play

Meanwhile, along with the NCP leaders, family members were putting every effort to convince rebel leader Ajit Pawar to return to the party and the family. Sources said that Sharad Pawar’s wife Pratibha and daughter Supriya had held discussions with Ajit and insisted that he resign as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ deputy and return to the family.

Ajit’s supporters claim that the leader was unhappy with Sharad Pawar’s decision to join hands with the Sena and the Congress. A section of younger Pawar’s supporters also say that he was unhappy with Sharad Pawar promoting Supriya as his political heir.

While Sharad Pawar clarified on Monday that he had held no talks with Ajit since Saturday, various family members continuously held meetings with him. And, finally, Ajit decided to return to the party and the family.

Published on November 26, 2019
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