BJP is set to form govt headed by Devendra Fadnavis, with rebel Eknath Shinde as his deputy.

Uddhav Thackeray
Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday announced his resignation from the post as head of the MVA government. His resignation was triggered apparently after the Supreme Court gave its go ahead for the floor test in Maharashtra Assembly on Thursday as the apex court refused to stay the state Governor’s direction for a floor test, which was challenged by Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu.

“We are not staying tomorrow’s floor test,” the Supreme Court bench said. The court also issued notice on Shiv Sena Chief Whip Sunil Prabhu’s plea and said that the floor test will be subject to the outcome of the present petition.

According to sources, Thackeray chose to step down to save his face for he knew his defeat was imminent if a floor test was conducted. Now, decks for a BJP-led government are cleared, with Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister and rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde as his deputy.

Announcing his resignation, an emotional Thackeray said, “I don’t care for the post, I care for support of my Shiv Sainiks. I am not the one to be scared, but rather than spilling the blood of the Shiv Sainiks on the streets, I will step down.” Thackeray also announced his resignation from the state Legislative Council.

Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu had on Wednesday morning filed an urgent plea with Supreme Court challenging Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s direction to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for a floor test on Thursday 30June. The hearing began at 5 in the evening and continued till 9 p.m. However, after hearing the arguments, the apex court refused to intervene with the Governor’s directions. The Supreme Court had also held that results of the floor test will be subject to the final outcome of SS chief whip Prabhu’s petition. The Court was to hear Prabhu’s petition on July 12, along with rebel MLAs’ plea challenging disqualification proceedings Deputy Speaker had set in motion against 16 Shiv Sena rebel legislators including their leader Shinde. After the apex court on Tuesday stayed Deputy Speaker’s disqualification notice to 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had met Governor Koshyari. “We have told the Governor that he should ask the Chief Minister to conduct a floor test and prove majority,” he had told the media after meeting the Governor. Keeping in view that the MVA government has lost numbers in the House, Koshyari on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra Legislature Secretary to conduct a floor test on Thursday at 11 a.m. The Governor had called special session of the House for the purpose. Moving swiftly, Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu on Wednesday morning filed a plea in Supreme Court challenging Governor Koshyari’s direction. Pleading for an urgent hearing of Prabhu’s petition, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the vacation bench of Justice Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala that the “floor test is illegal” as it cannot include persons facing disqualification. After hearing the arguments, the bench allowed the petition and began hearing at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Thackeray held a Cabinet meeting, where proposal to rename Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar was unanimously passed. Expressing his annoyance and dismay at the Governor directing a floor test without holding consultation with his Cabinet, Thackeray thanked all his cabinet colleagues for standing by him for over two and a half years. “You all supported me in the past over two and a half years. I thank you all. Forgive me if I hurt anybody. My own people betrayed me … this I will regret always,” said the Chief Minister. According to sources, the rebel MLAs, camping in Guwahati, headed to Goa in a chartered SpiceJet flight on Wednesday from where they were to move to Mumbai on Thursday for the trust vote. However, after Thackeray announced his resignation, they all left Goa for Mumbai.