BJP's Devendra Fadnavis and NCP leader Ajit Pawar took oath as the Maharashtra chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively on Saturday, an unexpected development a day after Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray emerged as the Sena-NCP-Congress' consensus candidate for the top post.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, however, said it was his nephew Ajit Pawar's own decision, and not that of the party, to support the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the government.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut accused Ajit Pawar of stabbing the Sena in the back by deciding to join hands with the BJP. He said Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray would address a joint press conference in Mumbai soon.
The month-long political impasse ended dramatically with Fadnavis returning as the chief minister after the President's rule, imposed in the state on November 12, was revoked early on Saturday.
The development raised eyebrows not only in the political circles, but also among the people of the state as the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress had been holding talks over forming the government in the state.
It was only on Friday evening that Sharad Pawar had said the new government would be led by Uddhav Thackeray, which signalled the end of speculation on who would occupy the chief minister's post.
The three parties had even prepared a draft common minimum programme (CMP) to guide the actions of the new government.
However, after the oath-taking ceremony was held early on Saturday, Sharad Pawar tweeted: "Ajit Pawar's decision to support the BJP to form the Maharashtra Government is his personal decision and not that of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). We place on record that we do not support or endorse this decision of his." Talking to reporters, Raut said: "Ajit Pawar has stabbed the Shiv Sena in the back.
Joining hands with the BJP to form the government is betrayal." The BJP and the Sena, which fought the assembly polls in an alliance, had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats respectively in the 288-member House. However, the Sena broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after the latter declined to share the chief minister's post.
The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats respectively.Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday congratulated Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar for taking oath as chief minister and deputy chief minister of Maharashtra respectively.
In a tweet, he expressed confidence that the two will work for Maharashtra's development.
Congratulations to @Dev_Fadnavis Ji and @AjitPawarSpeaks Ji on taking oath as the CM and Deputy CM of Maharashtra respectively. I am confident they will work diligently for the bright future of Maharashtra.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 23, 2019