A month-long drama surrounding Maharashtra politics came to an end on Saturday as Uddhav Thackeray won the floor test and proved his majority in the house with the support of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress party. This, however, did not happen before a tough stand by the BJP. Devendra Fadnavis and his MLAs walked out of the assembly in dramatic fashion before the floor test. This walkout was staged over alleged violation of established norms by the new government.
As the assembly session began, former CM Devendra Fadnavis had his reservations about the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance, having things its way on the floor of the house. Fadnavis raised some questions over the validity of the floor test.
Fadnavis started off by saying that only the governor had the right to call the session for the trust vote and since no such order was passed by the Raj Bhavan, the session itself is under question.
While claiming that the government wanted to keep the BJP MLAs away from the house, Fadnavis added, "We were informed about the session at midnight. Government wanted to keep our members away from it."
Fadnavis also questioned the procedure being followed by the house. He said that the trust vote is conducted by a regular speaker and not a pro-tem speaker and that the house should first elect a regular speaker. He said that the opposition's decision to change the pro-tem speaker was 'unprecedent' and illegal.
"It has never happened in the history," Fadnavis added.
The former Maharashtra CM also raised questions on the oath-taking ceremony of Uddhav Thackeray and six of his ministers on November 27. He said that the oaths were not taken as per the constitutional guidelines.
BJP also asked why the tradition of playing Vande Matram at the ceremony was broken.
Going down fighting
After these claims, BJP walked out of the house in a dramatic fashion which left the house with the supported of Uddhav Thackeray, who found the floor all to themselves to pass the trust vote without any problem whatsoever. Congress leader Ashok Chavan moved the motion and it was seconded by NCP’s Nawab Malik and Jayant Patil along with Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde.
NCP calls this 'BJP's excuse to run away during floor test'
The NCP accused the BJP of running away from the House after the opposition party staged a walkout before the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government faced a floor test. The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance government passed the floor test with 169 votes in favour.
The NCP's chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said Walse Patil was appointed as pro-tem Speaker with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's consent. The session too was convened after Koshyari's approval, he said.
"They wanted some excuse to run away, that's why all this (ruckus). Devendra ji (BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis) should take lessons from (senior BJP leader Eknath) Khadse on how an opposition leader should work," Malik said.
NCP MP Supriya Sule too said that the BJP ran away from floor test.
"We are absolutely democratic. We will not stifle their (opposition's) voice. For us, the battle is not personal. We will win their hearts with love," she said. "Maharashtra never saw vindictive approach. Our government will not work in a vindictive manner...They (the BJP) ran away when the floor test was on," Sule said.
Congress leader and former chief minister Ashok Chavan said Fadnavis should have welcomed his successor Uddhav Thackeray with open heart.
"But instead he raised minor technical issues. This was not right," Chavan said.