Maharashtra’s politics took another turn on Thursday with the announcement of rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde’s name for the post of State’s Chief Minister. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis made the announcement after accompanying Mr. Shinde to the Raj Bhavan to stake claim for the new government in the State.
Earlier on Wednesday, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray resigned from the CM post, ending a 31-month-long stint of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
As the current political situation in the State seems concluded for now, we offer a recap of the events of making and breaking of the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP alliance.
Here’s a timeline of political developments that led to the formation of Maha Vikas Aghadi:
October 24, 2019 - The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, which fought the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections together, wins 161 seats (BJP - 105 and Shiv Sena - 56). The NCP gets 54 seats while the Congress bags 44 seats. Even though everything seems in place for the next government, the Sena raises the demand of a rotational chief ministership with the BJP.
October 25, 2019 - As the BJP settled for fewer seats in the new Assembly, thus making it more dependent on its ally, the Shiv Sena begins pressing its demands for more cabinet berths and the CM post for 2.5 years. The Sena mouthpiece Samaana attacks Devendra Fadnavis and heaps praises on NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. Sena leaders also convey to the BJP that Uddhav Thackeray will only negotiate with then BJP national president Amit Shah.
October 28, 2019 - Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut claims that a 50:50 formula was agreed upon between Amit Shah and Mr. Thackeray before the Assembly polls. The BJP denies this, saying no such agreement was made with the Sena. Separate delegations from the BJP and the Sena also meet Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. Both sides term the meetings as “courtesy calls.”
October 30, 2019 - Shiv Sena cancels a meeting with the BJP after Mr. Fadnavis denies a half-term chief ministerial post to its ally. Sena stays firm on its demand.
November 1, 2019 - In the first hint at deteriorating ties, Sena leader Sanjay Raut says his party could form a government without the BJP. Mr. Raut also meets Mr. Pawar secretly, setting off murmurs of an alliance with the NCP and Congress.
November 8, 2019 - The Sena-BJP alliance breaks. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tenders his resignation to Governor Koshyari as the BJP and Shiv Sena fail to reach a deal on the formation of the government The term of the then Maharashtra Assembly was to end on November 9.
The BJP and the Sena continue shifting blame onto each other for the failure of talks. Raj Bhavan officials say that the Governor is examining options to appoint the next caretaker of the government or start proceedings for imposing President’s rule.
November 9, 2019 - The newly-elected 14th Legislative Assembly of the State goes into “suspended animation.” Governor Koshyari asks the leader of the elected members of the single largest party, BJP, and its legislative leader Mr. Fadnavis to indicate willingness and ability to form the government.
November 10, 2019 - After BJP declines the invite, Governor Koshyari invites the Shiv Sena, the second largest party, to stake its claim to form the government.
November 11, 2019 - The Shiv Sena seeks an extension, but the Governor rejects this and invites the NCP.
November 12, 2019 - Even as the Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena and the Congress were discussing ways to form the government in Maharashtra, Governor Koshyari recommends President’s Rule in the State. President’s rule is imposed. Sena-NCP-Congress say they would continue working to find ways to form the government.
November 12-19, 2019 - The war of words continues between the Sena and the BJP even as the former is actively engaged in negotiations with the NCP and Congress. Mr. Shah says the Sena’s demands are unacceptable but his party does not want mid-term polls in the State. The Shiv Sena also blames BJP and alleges a betrayal of alliance terms. The talks between the Sena, the NCP and the Congress move forward with top leaders meeting to sort out matters regarding government formation and power-sharing.
November 20, 2019 - Amid hectic parleys over government formation, Mr. Pawar springs a surprise by meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi “to take up the issue of farmers’ distress in the State.” The meeting makes the leaders of the NCP-Sena-Congress combine uncomfortable as the talks between the three parties seemed to be in their final stages.
November 21, 2019 - Mr. Thackeray and his son Aaditya hold a meeting with NCP chief Mr. Pawar at his residence in Mumbai late on November 21 for final discussions on government formation. A new alliance with the name ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ is formed.
November 22, 2019 - In a press conference held that evening, the alliance is formally announced along with the announcement of Uddhav Thackeray as its chief ministerial candidate.
November 23, 2019 - The Centre invokes Rule 12 of the Transaction of Business Rules, 1961 which empowers the Prime Minister to depart from established rules if necessary. Here, it is used to revoke the proclamation of President’s rule in Maharashtra without the prior approval of the Union Cabinet. President Ram Nath Kovind revokes the proclamation through a notification issued early on Saturday signed by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.
November 23, 2019 - The political impasse that had begun in Maharashtra after the State Assembly poll results takes another turn on the morning of November 23 when BJP’s Mr. Fadnavisreturns as CM after NCP’s Ajit Pawar breaks away with a faction of party MLAs to become the Deputy CM. The move comes as a surprise as the MVA had been all set to form the government, headed by Mr. Thackeray.
November 23, 2019 - The NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena combine moves the Supreme Court with a joint petition against the “illegal usurpation of power” by the BJP. The Court lists the petition for hearing at 11.30 a.m. on November 24.
November 24, 2019 - The Supreme Court starts hearing the matter. While the NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena alliance claims the support of 165 MLAs, the BJP also says it has 170 MLAs backing the Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar government.
November 25, 2019 - The Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress parade 162 MLAs in a Mumbai five-star hotel on November 25 evening in a show of united strength. The 162 MLAs take an oath to remain faithfulto the alliance.
November 26, 2019 - After hearing both sides for two days, the Supreme Court orders that a floor test be conducted in Maharashtra by 5.00 p.m. on November 27.
November 26, 2019 - Hours after the SC order, Mr. Fadnavis resigns, barely 80 hours after taking oath. The move is necessitated by his deputy Ajit Pawar’s resignation citing “personal reasons”.
November 27, 2019 - Following days of extraordinary political developments, pro tem Speaker Kalidas Kolambkar administers the oath of office to the newly-elected members at a special session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
November 28, 2019 - Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray takes oath as the 18th Chief Minister of Maharashtra, heading the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance with the Congress and NCP.
June 10, 2022 - Even though Shiv Sena’s alliance with the Congress and the NCP was an unlikely one, the MVA government had a smooth run until June 2022. The BJP trumps the alliance twice in a matter of days. The BJP wins an extra seat from Maharashtra in the Rajya Sabha polls, leading to a blame game in the ruling alliance.
June 20, 2022 - In the fiercely fought Maharashtra Legislative Council polls, the BJP again gets the better of the MVA alliance by winning five out of 10 seats, with 12 Sena MLAs reportedly cross-voting in favour of Mr. Fadnavis-led BJP .
June 21, 2022 - Shiv Sena leader and State Minister Eknath Shinde goes untraceable along with 11 MLAs, putting the stability of the MVA government in question. Sources in Surat confirm that over a dozen legislators from Maharashtra are lodged at the Le Meridien Hotel. Later in the day, Mr. Shinde breaks his silence and says he would never betray Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray’s teachings for the sake of power. He also talks about Hindutva.
Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray calls an urgent meeting asking all MLAs to be strictly present. Alliane partners NCP and Congress also summon their MLAs in separate meetings. Shiv Sena removes Eknath Shinde from the post of Legislature Party leader. Senior party MLA Ajay Choudhari is appointed as the new Legislature Party leader.
June 22, 2022 - Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari tests positive for COVID-19 and is admitted to the hospital. In the absence of a Speaker, Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal accepts Shiv Sena’s recommendation to appoint a new leader of the legislature party as Mr. Shinde and 40 MLAs reach Guwahati. Meanwhile, Mr. Thackeray leaves the Chief Minister’s residence and goes to his residence Matoshree.
June 23, 2022 - Mr. Shinde reacts to Mr. Zirwal’s decision of changing the leader of Legislature Party and says he has the support of 40 MLAs, much more than the number required as per the anti-defection law.
June 24, 2022 - Shiv Sena makes an application to Mr. Zirwal seeking disqualification of 16 MLAs who are with Mr. Shinde. However, two independent MLAs introduce a no-confidence motion against Mr. Zirwal as he is still with the NCP. But it is rejected as it was sent via anonymous e-mail.
June 25, 2022 - Mr. Zirwal issues disqualification notices to the 16 MLAs who were absent in the urgent meeting called by the Chief Minister.
June 26, 2022 - Mr. Shinde moves the Supreme Court challenging the disqualification notice issued by the Deputy Speaker to him and 15 other legislators.
June 27, 2022 - The Supreme Court grants relief to Mr. Shinde and other MLAs by extending time till July 11 to file a reply to the notice of disqualification by Mr. Zirwal.
June 28, 2022 - Mr. Fadnavis hands over a letter to the Governor requesting him to direct a floor test in the Assembly. Mr. Koshyari issues directions for a test on June 30. Shiv Sena’s Sunil Prabhu moves the Supreme Court challenging the said direction.
June 29, 2022 - After allowing an urgent hearing to Shiv Sena’s plea, the Supreme Court refuses to stay the floor test ordered by the Governor. Mr. Thackeray resigns as the Chief Minister and as an MLC. Rebel MLAs led by Mr. Shinde arrive in Goa.
June 30, 2022 - Mr. Shinde reaches Mumbai to hold a meeting with Mr. Fadnavis and other BJP leaders. The two leaders arrive at the Raj Bhavan and stake claim to form the next government.
Eknath Shinde is announced to be the next Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Mr. Fadnavis, at a joint press conference with Mr. Shinde, says, the BJP will be in the government but he will not hold any portfolio.