With no end in sight of the high-octane drama in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court gave a 24-hour breather to the Centre, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar to produce the documents and letters of support from MLAs. The Congress-Shiv Sena-NCP combine has also demanded an immediate floor test and have claimed that BJP does not have the numbers to prove majority.
"If Devendra Fadnavis has numbers to prove majority, let him prove it on the floor of House, else we have numbers to form government in Maharashtra," said senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena combine, submitted before a bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi also called for an urgent floor test.
The tripartite alliance has also accused BJP of poaching its MLAs. The allies have also stated that they have the numbers to prove majority in the House, while BJP does not. The apex court is scheduled to take a final call on the political drama on Monday.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said that some BJP leaders had booked rooms in hotels and had kept some of his party MLAs there. Separately, NCP has also put up its MLAs in Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai anticipating horse-trading.
NCP also stated that four MLAs who had gone incommunicado since Saturday have returned to the party. The party claimed that 53 out of 54 MLAs are back in touch.
With the impending floor test, all the parties have rushed to guard their MLAs by putting them up in hotels in Mumbai.
On Saturday morning, BJP's Devendra Fadnavis took oath as chief minister. He was seemingly backed by NCP, whose leader Ajit Pawar was sworn in as deputy chief minister. However, soon after the oath-taking ceremony, NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar said that the party offered no support to the BJP, and that it was Ajit Pawar's personal backing.
The developments sent shockwaves across the parties as NCP and its allies - Congress and Shiv Sena - had pledged its allegiance to make Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray the chief minister.
The Congress called Devendra Fadnavis' swearing-in a "betrayal of people mandate" and called the government "illegitimate".