Maha: Fadnavis quits; to continue as caretaker CM
Mumbai: Devendra Fadnavis on Friday resigned as Maharashtra chief minister, five years and a week after he assumed the state's top job, blaming the ally Shiv Sena for rebuffing all attempts to form alliance government after the polls.
The developments, coming a fortnight after the assembly poll results on October 24 gave the BJP-Sena a comfortable majority, put a question mark on survival of their around three-decade-old alliance.
Both the bickering partners, however, did not state categorically that there was no scope for rapprochement in coming days. Late in the evening, BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said the alliance was not over, and the Sena should respect the mandate.
The Sena, which wants its chief minister in the state, countered Fadnavis's claim that there had been no agreement on sharing the chief minister's post. He would fulfill the promise made to his father, late Bal Thackeray, to install a Shiv Sena chief minister in the state, Uddhav Thackeray said.
Fadnavis, 49, drove to Raj Bhavan and handed over his resignation to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who asked him to be the "caretaker CM" till alternative arrangements are made.
"The alternative arrangement could be anything, a new government or imposition of President's rule," Fadnavis told reporters after meeting the governor.
"The governor has accepted my resignation. I thank the people of Maharashtra for giving me the chance to serve them for the last five years," Fadnavis said.
He blamed ally Shiv Sena for the impasse. Refuting Sena's claim, Fadnavis asserted that no decision was taken "in his presence" that the two will share the chief minister's post.
"I again want to make it clear that it was never decided that the CM's post will be shared. There was never a decision on this issue. Even (BJP chief) Amit Shah ji and (senior BJP leader) Nitin Gadkari ji said this was never decided," he said.
Fadnavis said he called Uddhav Thackeray for breaking the impasse many times, but "Uddhav ji did not take my calls."
The Shiv Sena's "policy" of not talking with the BJP but holding talks with the opposition Congress and NCP was wrong, he said.
"The day poll results came, Uddhav ji said all options were open for government formation. That was shocking for us as people had given mandate for our alliance and in such circumstances it was a big question for us that why he said that all options are open for him," he said.
Soon after Fadnavis's press conference, the Sena chief hit out at the BJP for trying to portray him as a liar on the issue of sharing of CM's post.
The BJP had agreed to share the chief minister's post during his talks with Amit Shah before the Lok Sabha polls, Uddhav Thackeray said.
He would fulfill the promise made to his father, late Sena founder Bal Thackeray, to install a Shiv Sena chief minister in the state, and does not need Devendra Fadnavis or Shah for this, Uddhav Thackeray said.
Thackeray again and again said that he was hurt that the BJP tried to portray him as a liar.
He did not hold talks with the BJP after the Assembly poll results came in on October 24 as he could not tolerate being called a liar, he said.
The Sena chief also denied Fadnavis's claim that Sena leaders targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He did not attack Modi but criticised the NDA government from time to time over policies, Thackeray said.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, earlier in the day, questioned why the governor was not calling the single largest party, the BJP, to form government.
Union minister Ramdas Athawale met Pawar here "to seek his advice" on ending deadlock over government formation.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Pawar suggested the BJP and Shiv Sena should respect the "clear cut majority" people have given them.
There has been no headway in government formation in the state even a fortnight after Assembly poll results were announced on October 24.
The BJP and Shiv Sena are locked in a tussle over the chief minister's post, resulting in a stalemate despite the poll results giving the saffron alliance a combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288- member House.
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