New Delhi/Mumbai: The Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP combine has welcomed the Supreme Court's order to hold a floor test in Maharashtra on Wednesday as a victory for democracy and constitutional principles while the BJP asserted that the ruling is not a "setback" for it.
Asked whether the three-party combine will be able to defeat the BJP government in Maharashtra, Congress president Sonia Gandhi told reporters, "Absolutely".
In Mumbai, NCP chief Sharad Pawar hailed the Supreme Court's direction saying he was grateful to the apex court for upholding democratic values and constitutional principles.
"I am grateful to Hon'ble SC for upholding democratic values and constitutional principles. It's heartening that the Maharashtra Verdict came on the #ConstitutionDay, a Tribute to Bharatratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar!" Pawar said in a tweet.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to prove his majority in the state assembly by Wednesday, a day after hearing a petition challenging formation of the BJP government there.
The Congress-Shiv Sena-NCP combine had challenged the way BJP leader Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister and NCP's Ajit Pawar as deputy chief minister on Saturday morning, and demanded an immediate floor test.
Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant said the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena combine will be able to prove its majority in the assembly.
"The midnight move by the BJP to form a government in Maharashtra was an insult of the Constitution. We have always maintained that those who have majority should form the government. We have the majority 100 per cent.
"We had only demanded that floor test should be done soon since more the delay the more horse trading will take place. The BJP is compelled by the habit, they will go on doing it," said Sawant.
In its reaction, the BJP said the floor test will establish the position of different parties in its entirety.
Its national spokesperson Nalin Kohli also rejected the contention that the Supreme Court order was a "setback" for the BJP, asserting that no judicial pronouncement on issues of the Constitution can be a setback to any political party.
"Is it not an irony and political hypocrisy when on the one hand political parties speak about constitutional values and, on the other hand, express an intention to boycott parliament on the occasion of Constitutional Day," he said.
Kohli said the Supreme Court order has to be complied with, adding that it was in line with the Bommai judgment that a floor test was the only conclusive test to prove majority in the House.
The Congress hailed the Supreme Court's order calling it a "slap" on the "illegitimate" government in Maharashtra.
The opposition party also alleged that the BJP has brought a "black name" for democracy, while the Supreme Court on Constitution Day has given a gift to the nation by passing the order.
"The Supreme Court's decision is a slap on an illegitimate BJP-Ajit Pawar Govt, who had hijacked the 'mandate'. A government founded on fraud has been defeated on Constitution Day," Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet.
Addressing reporters after the apex court order, senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan expressed satisfaction over the court ordering a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on Wednesday, and said the alliance of the Congress, Shiv Sena and the NCP has a majority in the House.
"Sena, Cong, NCP are satisfied with the Supreme Court order of a floor test in the Maharashtra assembly...We are confident that we have a majority in the Maharashtra Assembly. The reality of the BJP's claim will be exposed tomorrow," he said.
Abhishek Singhvi, senior Congress leader and the lawyer for the Congress and NCP in the case, said the BJP has "brought a black name for democracy and therefore we are very grateful that the Supreme Court on no less than on Law Day, now christened Constitution Day, has given a gift to the nation."
"We welcome the Supreme Court decision to hold the Maharashtra floor test tomorrow. This is a victory for the Constitution of India, a victory for democracy and a victory of truth," the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.