As the Maha Vikas Aghadi government completed a year, Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut has finally opened up about the drama that unfolded before the formation of Sena-Congress-NCP alliance in 2019.
Raut, in his column Rokthok in Sena's mouthpiece Saamana, has spilt beans on the whole chapter that became a topic for several books written by political journalists in Maharashtra.
The Shiv Sena spokesperson has detailed several incidences which happened before the formation of MVA government, including a spat between NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge over the post of Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. He also wrote about the events which led to Ajit Pawar's decision of joining BJP and the future of MVA government.
Spat between Kharge and Pawar
Describing the turn of events from the historic three-party meeting at the Nehru Center in Mumbai, Raut wrote that NCP President Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had a fierce argument over the decision of giving the post of Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to NCP.
Kharge had objected to the decision and that was followed by the fierce spat between the duo which resulted in "furious" Pawar leaving the meeting. However, later he was persuaded by Raut and Praful Patel to join the meeting.
Ajit Pawar and the early morning oath
While narrating the story before Ajit Pawar joined hands with BJP, Raut wrote that during the three-party meeting, Ajit Pawar was busy chatting on his phone. After the meeting, Ajit Pawar's phone was switched off and next day he directly appeared at the Raj Bhavan for the early morning swearing-in ceremony with Devendra Fadnavis.
BJP and Sharad Pawar
In his column, Raut also refuted the rumours over the Shaha-Pawar meeting which allegedly led to Ajit Pawar joining hands with BJP.
"During that time Pawar and I were regularly in touch with each other in Delhi. We would meet every day. He was not ready to go with the BJP. However, he had told me that he had gotten a few offers like that," Raut added.
Further, Raut also stated that Pawar had already told him about his plans to inform PM Modi that it was not possible for NCP to form a government with the BJP.
Last year, while Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress were still bargaining for the alliance, in a stunning turn of events, BJP's Devendra Fadnavis on November 23, 2019, took oath as CM with NCP's Ajit Pawar as his deputy. The duo was sworn in a hush-hush early morning ceremony.
However, Ajit Pawar resigned on November 26, following which Fadnavis also threw in the towel, resulting into the collapse of the government that lasted for only 80 hours.
Hours later Fadnavis' resignation, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress leaders combined met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and staked claim to form the government in Maharashtra. Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray later took oath as the Chief Minister of the state on November 28, thereby ending the high voltage political drama in the state.
(With inputs from agencies)