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HomeIndiaBJP’s overnight coup didn’t happen overnight at all, and Sharad Pawar likely...

BJP’s overnight coup didn’t happen overnight at all, and Sharad Pawar likely knew about it

ThePrint brings you a blow-by-blow account of how the BJP formed the government in Maharashtra.

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New Delhi: On Friday afternoon, as the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress huddled together to finalise the nitty-gritty of forming a government in Maharashtra, Governor B.S. Koshyari received a letter from NCP legislative party leader Ajit Pawar stating his willingness to form a government with the BJP, ThePrint has learnt.

According to sources in the BJP, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also sent a letter to Koshyari around the same time, apart from a letter of support from 15 independent MLAs.

“At around 2-2.30 pm, a letter was sent from the BJP and NCP to the Governor saying they had the numbers. Following this, certain formalities were carried out in the evening and the Governor sent a report to the President,” a BJP source said.

Overnight, President’s Rule was lifted and the Governor invited Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar for their swearing-in ceremony. A cabinet meeting revoking President’s rule was not required for this purpose, the BJP source added, as had been necessary when President’s rule had been imposed.

“Fadnavis said he would be CM and Ajit Pawar would be deputy CM, so they were both invited for the swearing-in ceremony early morning Saturday. The ceremony was also attended by NCP MLAs at Raj Bhavan,” the BJP source said.

BJP also rushed general secretary and in-charge of elections in Maharashtra, Bhupendra Yadav, to Mumbai. He reached by Friday evening.

According to a second BJP source, the party got in touch with NCP soon after the Shiv Sena began its own process of dialogue with NCP and Congress.

“Does the Shiv Sena think only it can get in touch with other parties? When we realised that the situation was such that we had to look for alternatives, we began talks with the NCP. At this time the NCP leadership also realised it was much more feasible to have a government with two-party support rather than with three,” the second BJP source said.

“Our talks (between BJP and NCP) were going on for quite some time and we were able to firm them up on Friday afternoon, following which letters were sent to the Governor,” the first source told ThePrint.

Asked whether Sharad Pawar was not in the loop as he has been maintaining, a party source said it was highly unlikely that he had no clue.

“Pawar ji had a meeting with the PM and while it may have been primarily about the farmers, is it possible that such an important political situation of Maharashtra would not have been discussed? He is just trying to confuse everyone now with his statements,” the first source added.

On Saturday morning, Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were sworn in as the Maharashtra chief minister and deputy CM, respectively.

Also read: What happened in the dark of Friday night as BJP pulled off a coup in Maharashtra: A timeline

How Ajit Pawar played his hand

According to the second source in BJP, the letter that was sent by Ajit Pawar on 12 November to Governor B.S. Koshyari asking for more time to form the government, was an indicator that he was in touch with the BJP and was simply seeking more time.

On Friday, Ajit Pawar left the Congress and NCP meeting midway saying he was going to see a lawyer. However, he was actually meeting Devendra Fadnavis at the time.

“Fadnavis indicated Ajit Pawar’s support to Amit Shah Friday afternoon,” said the first BJP source.

Following this, BJP president Amit Shah sent Bhupendra Yadav to Mumbai to oversee a smooth coordination of final talks and an early morning swearing-in.

“Pawar handed a letter of support of 54 MLAs in his capacity as leader of the NCP legislature party to the BJP,” the first source said.

One BJP leader who spoke to ThePrint said that “it was not easy” to convince Ajit Pawar.

“Until the last moment we were banking on Shiv Sena. We were hoping that the Congress would not be comfortable with forming an alliance with Sena. And the Sena’s past experience of bargains would open a window to the BJP to strike,” said a third BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

“However, when the BJP sensed that Uddhav Thackeray had gone too far to return to the alliance, it started talks on the next available option, which was to bank on Ajit Pawar’s ambitions and difference within the Pawar family,” said a source.

Also read: 5 reasons why nobody is ready to believe Sharad Pawar

How the math worked out

Now that it has formed the government, the BJP claims it has the support of 170 MLAs — the majority mark is 144 — even as the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress have begun discussions about what kind of legal recourse to adopt.

“Ajit Pawar is the legislative party leader and can be elected and removed by all party MLAs only. Sharad Pawar can’t remove him. We will win the floor test as Ajit Pawar, as the party leader, will issue a whip and those who won’t follow will run the risk of getting disqualified. So we are quite confident,” added the first source quoted above to explain how Sharad Pawar’s nephew has the support of all NCP MLAs.

Ajit Pawar was elected NCP legislative party leader on 30 October.

The BJP sources also pointed out that since the Speaker would be from BJP, it would be easy for Ajit to get required the 36 MLAs, if not all 54, to prove their majority in the House.

The BJP has 105 seats in the Maharashtra assembly while the NCP has 54. The Shiv Sena and Congress and Congress have 56 and 44 seats, respectively.

On Saturday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said Ajit’s decision was totally “against the party”.

BJP even eyed Congress MLAs

Sources in the BJP said that other options were on the table after the imposition of President’s Rule, including breaking the Congress. But many felt this would not be a stable option.

“The BJP has taken support of the NCP earlier, so we had some familiarity and decided to go for that option,” said another source in the BJP.

“The BJP had kept several options open, including staying very quiet on the Shiv Sena and not opposing even a Sena mayor in BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation), just in case it needed to keep a window open for last moment arrangements,” the source said.

“At the same time, BJP negotiators were talking to Ajit Pawar for the last four days to pressurise him to switch sides,” added the source.

Also read: Multi-crore irrigation scam, links with Dawood aide: What NCP leaders are being probed for


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  1. The politicians should realise that politics is not a business or profession , it is a mission , unfortunately todays politicians do not understand this, I do not know how people feel that they can surrender their future in the hands of such politicians ? If they can not be honest to their principals how can they deliver results in economy , job and above all culture.

    I feel very sad to witness that India has truly become a banana republic where public good takes a back seat in the effort to posses personal wealth and protect it.

    There are many Presidents came and gone but can we remember many names after Dr RadhaKrishnan.

    To me these are very black era of Indian polity

  2. Et tu Shekhar Gupta! Printing BJP spin as source based stories will only benefit the two shameless authors sucking up to their ‘sources’ .

  3. Hahaha. The old fox struck.
    1 fooled Modi , Shah and Ajit pawar
    2 trapped Ajit for him to be totally isolated
    3 ensired a smooth transition of ncp leadership in future for Supriya
    4 morning guided ajit to take oath and evening undid it
    5 ensured that Supriya will become CM after 2 and a half years in case rotation is decided
    Media, modi, the so called chanakya have all been made fools
    6 credibility of bjp had a heavy hit

  4. Post Maha elections everyone has come out smelling of roses.

    Ahh…..such nice khusboo….the fragrance will strengthen democracy and secularism– two things Indians no matter how wretchedly poor believe in from the bottom of their hearts.

    Two cheers for Indian democracy!!

  5. Electoral Bonds collected by BJP previously – bought the NCP members the money going directly to Ajit Pawar – now in power the NCP, in future will be able to generate its own Electoral Bonds.
    With the average Indian IQ of 82 (Google Jordon Peterson Video on IQ and US Army) democracy cannot work in a country like India.
    Malnutrition causes this low IQ, India has 30% stunted growth and 60% anaemia in Women.
    People with IQ below 82 cannot think for themselves, are useless for anything and can easily be manipulated , in India’s case this is done mainly by well fed Brahmins who rule the roost.

    • Dude you are Muslim and Muslim are some of the dumbest lot on earth first look for yourself and then talk about brahmincal patrichay and shit.

      • Ananth obviously is spewing venom when hard facts are presented to him
        Average Muslims with their protein rich low cost beef are good artisans and above all follow a superior religion
        If you can’t digest an argument backed by hard data better keep your mouth shut

          • Islam is the most fanatical and ugly religion on earth with dumb idiots following their ‘prophet’.

            Stop teaching us about your misogynistic, intolerant and homophobic religion. I live in the US and I can tell you Muslims are deeply hated here.

        • So you think that a religion is superior to another. This itself proves your beef eating sic mentality. It is not the fault of your religion, but that of it’s preachers who have made you think that your religion is superior than others. God never created religions, we did. God never created differences, we did. God never created castes, we did. Abbas Ali, your God is no different from mine.
          And India inspite of all it’s, so called demerits, has grown a lot in last 70 years and still going great, politicians or no politicians

    • People get the leader they deserve. If this is an example of an educated member of the Muslim community, it is no wonder that its tallest political leader is Asaduddin Owaisi, a barrister with six or more children.

    • You are totally wrong Indians are smarter than your IQ.
      But are fools also as they are being fooled by politicians eversince Britishers left and expect whatsoever from the politicians and Mr.Mody is removing this very fact of Indian mind by his leadership not only accepted by the Indians but also the world.
      Indians can never be like western countries definitely.
      But the reason is that they have culture much more greater than the Christian or Juesh or Muslims.
      What has happened in due course of time Brahmins also have lost the culture as they have became western minded.
      The entire continent has lost their great culture which now Mody is reminding them of and it will rise soon as it is viral and Indians are not totally lost it but due to lack of education have it feebly well.

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