The Supreme Court on Monday gave a breather to the BJP-Ajit Pawar government in Maharashtra as it reserved its order on Governor B. S. Koshyari's decision to invite the BJP to form a government in the state for Tuesday.
The top court said the order on Maharashtra will be pronounced on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the central government, told the court that he has "brought letters of support of the BJP, NCP MLAs on which the Governor's decision rested".
Mehta said: "Documents show that NCP leader Ajit Pawar submitted a letter of support of 54 Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs to the Governor with their signatures."
"According to letter of support of Ajit Pawar on November 22, Devendra Fadnavis staked claim to form the government, which also includes letters of support of 11 independents and other MLAs."
The BJP has 105 MLAs in the 288-member House while the NCP had won 54 seats. The BJP claimed that it has the support of 11 independents and others thus taking its number to 170. Mehta also raised preliminary objections to a judicial review of Governor Koshyari's decision on appointment of Fadnavis as Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar as his deputy in a surprise early morning move on Saturday.
Mehta said that "after this, the Governor sent information to the President. Citing this information, he requested the revocation of President's Rule in the state."
Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi appearing for the BJP submitted that the Governor had gone with the party with the support of 170 MLAs. Rohtagi said that the others have never claimed that the MLAs' signatures were forged.
The submissions were made in the apex court during the hearing of a petition of the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP against the surprise government formation by Fadnavis on Saturday morning. Fadnavis was sworn in along with NCP's Ajit Pawar, nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar as his deputy.
Meanwhile, Kapil Sibal appearing for the Congress said that he has the affidavit of support of 150 MLAs. He informed the court that the pre-poll alliance fell out as BJP did not stick to its promises with the Shiv Sena.
Senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi also appearing for Congress and NCP said what has been done is a "fraud on democracy".
"How can the Governor rely on signatures of MLAs without covering letter?" Singhvi asked.
Singhvi further said that 148 plus seven independent MLAs gave support in the affidavit. Insisting that the signatures of the NCP MLAs were perjury, Singhvi said, "We want to have floor test today after 155 people are saying we support."
Mehta intervened in Singhvi's submissions, and said, "Twelve signatures were missing when a letter was submitted to the Governor to withdraw Ajit Pawar's authority."
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