Hours after he held extensive talks in New Delhi with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, hoping to return to power in Maharashtra with the help of Shiv Sena rebel MLAs, met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari Tuesday night, urging him to direct Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the House.
Emerging from a meeting with the Governor at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai, Fadnavis told reporters, “We have submitted a letter, through e-mail and physically, to the Governor. We have mentioned the current political situation in Maharashtra and told him that 39 MLAs of Shiv Sena are out. They no longer wish to be with the Congress and NCP in the government. This means that 39 MLAs are not with the government or do not wish to support MVA. And therefore, we have asked the Governor that since the government seems to be in minority, he should immediately instruct the government and the CM to conduct a floor test and prove his majority.”
Fadnavis was accompanied by state BJP president Chandrakant Patil, senior MLAs Ashish Shelar, Girish Mahajan and Sudhir Mungantiwar, and Pravin Darekar, Leader of Opposition in the State Legislative Council.
Sources in the Sena rebel camp of Eknath Shinde, stationed in Guwahati, said Bacchu Kadu, president of Prahar Janshakti Paksh, is likely to reach Mumbai Wednesday morning and submit to the Governor a letter of withdrawal of support — with signatures of 51 MLAs — to the ruling MVA government.
All Sena rebels and independent MLAs and those belonging to the BJP are likely to reach Mumbai either Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. The BJP has instructed all its MLAs to be in Mumbai.
Sources said the BJP has booked over 125 rooms in a hotel and the MLAs are likely to stay there once they reach Mumbai.
Responding to the remarks by Fadnavis, Vinayak Raut, Shiv Sena MP and party secretary, said, “If the Governor asks the Chief Minister to go for a floor test to prove his majority, we will move court against it.”
Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said, “I don’t think the Governor has the discretion to go against the SC directive that status quo should be maintained. If he wants to take a different stand, he must take legal advice.”
NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said, “Today Devendra Fadnavis claimed that the government is in minority. He has claimed 39 MLAs have withdrawn from Sena. Till date, they are a part of the Sena. Fadnavis has asked for a floor test, we want to wait for what the Governor says.”
Earlier in the day, Fadnavis, accompanied by Rajya Sabha MP and senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, met Shah and Nadda in New Delhi.
“Both Fadnavis and Jethmalani had a 90-minute discussion with Amit Shah. The three discussed the legal and political options,” a source said. The leaders then drove to Nadda’s residence for talks.
The BJP, the source said, has been working to “plug the legal loopholes and ensure numbers in the event of the fall of the Uddhav Thackeray government.”
In Guwahati, Shinde told reporters that he and his group will soon be in Mumbai.
“We are coming to Mumbai soon and all the MLAs are with us. We are taking forward Balasaheb’s Hindutva. Those who are challenging us, I dare them to reveal the names of MLAs they say they are in touch with.”
The Shinde camp claims the support of 51 MLAs, thereby reducing the MVA strength in the House way below the halfway mark of 144. The current total strength of the House is 287 — Sena MLA Ramesh Latke passed away last month.
Before the revolt in the Sena, the MVA tally was 152 – Sena (55), NCP (53), Congress (44). BJP MLAs number 106 while Others account for the remaining 29.