Ahead of Maharashtra trust vote tomorrow, all BJP MLAs to meet at 9 pm

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been asked by the Supreme Court to prove its majority in the Maharashtra assembly on Wednesday, called a meeting of all its legislators at a sports club in Mumbai around 9 pm on Tuesday.

Union minister and senior BJP leader Raosaheb Danve said the party respects the Supreme Court order to hold a floor test in the state. “BJP held its core group meeting after the Supreme Court verdict. We decided that we will call all our MLAs at Garware Club tonight at 9 pm,” said Danve.

Other than setting a date for the floor test, the Supreme Court bench also ordered that the trust vote be telecast live and prohibited the Maharashtra asssembly from opting for a secret ballot. The vote will be conducted by a pro-tem (temporary) speaker.

“If the floor test is delayed, there is a possibility of horse trading, it becomes incumbent upon the Court to act to protect democratic values. An immediate floor test, in such a case, might be the most effective mechanism to do so,” ruled the top court bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna.

Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress had approached the Supreme Court over Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to invite Devendra Fadnavis to form a government. On Saturday morning, Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister and NCP’S Ajit Pawar was sworn in as deputy chief minister.

Soon after the court verdict on Tuesday, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at his residence Varsha. Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders Chhagan Bhujbal, Dilip Walse Patil and Sunil Tatkare had met Ajit Pawar in the morning and requested him to resign as deputy CM and come back to the party fold.

Congress and Shiv Sena leaders are also slated to meet their legislators later in the day. A meeting is underway between Sena and NCP leaders at Mumbai’s Sofitel hotel. Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel, Jayant Patil, Supriya Sule, Chhagan Bhujbal,Uddhav Thackeray, Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut were among those who attended the meeting.

On Monday evening, MLAs from the three opposition parties —Sena, NCP and Congress—publicly pledged their support to their Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi combine at hotel in Mumbai.

Senior leaders claimed they had the support of 162 legislators, way above the halfway mark of 145 in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly.