On Sunday, the Sena-NCP-Cong combine had its day in court. The top court asked the Centre to place before it on Monday morning the letters of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari inviting Fadnavis and of the BJP leader staking his claim to form the government in the state.
In an unprecedented hearing on a Sunday, the apex court, however, did not grant any interim relief to the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress combine to direct the Fadnavis government to undertake floor test within 24 hours and rather said that this issue would be dealt with only after perusing the two letters on Monday.
But legally speaking, the BJP is confident and everyone else is worried since legally speaking, everything has been done by the letter of the law. That’s why both Ajit Pawar and Amit Shah appear so confident.
Firstly, Article 365 was revoked by following Rule 12, which is the letter of the law. Secondly, at the time of the oath-taking, Ajit Pawar was the elected leader of the NCP, and when he submitted the letter to the Governor, he was the official and legal representative of NCP MLAs so his letter ought to stand till the process of the floor test.
In this case, Ajit Pawar can issue a whip and the MLAs refuse to follow the whip, they’d be disqualified under the 10th Schedule
The 10th schedule clearly states that a member can be ‘disqualified’: “if he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by the political party to which he belongs or by any person or authority authorised by it in this behalf, without obtaining, in either case, the prior permission of such political party, person or authority and such voting or abstention has not been condoned by such political party, person or authority within fifteen days from the date of such voting or abstention.”
In that case, the strength of the house falls to 233 (and one speaker) allowing BJP and allies to sail through with just 116 MLAs.
Perhaps that explains Ajit Pawar’s confidence as he wrote on Twitter: “I am in the NCP and shall always be in the NCP and @PawarSpeaks. Saheb is our leader. Our BJP-NCP alliance shall provide a stable Government in Maharashtra for the next five years which will work sincerely for the welfare of the State and its people. There is absolutely no need to worry, all is well. However a little patience is required. Thank you very much for all your support.”