A year on, Fadnavis downplays forming govt with Ajit Pawar

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(Eds: Adds Sena reaction, LD BES 6) Mumbai/Aurangabad, Nov 23 (PTI) A year after the unprecedented installation of the short-lived BJP-Ajit Pawar government in Maharashtra, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday dismissed it as an incident 'not worth remembering', while the Shiv Sena hit out at its former ally over the 'dark' episode.

On this day last year, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and NCPs Ajit Pawar sent shock waves in the state's political circles after they took oath at dawn as chief minister and deputy chief minister, respectively, at Raj Bhavan.

However, the BJP-Ajit Pawar government proved to be short-lived with the NCP leader tendering his resignation just 80 hours after its formation, paving the way for the Shiv Sena -led MVA administration to assume office a few days later.

Fadnavis, talking to reporters in Aurangabad, sought to downplay the entire episode and went on to add that if the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government falls, the oath ceremony of the dispensation that would replace it would not take place at dawn as was the case a year ago.

'If the present government in the state collapses, the oath ceremony will not take place at dawn. But such incidents need not be remembered,' the former CM said.

In Mumbai, the Shiv Sena blasted the BJP over the political experiment.

That dawn will never break again in Maharashtra and the MVA will retain power after the next Assembly election too, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said.

'That dawn will never break again, Raut told reporters.

'It was not a dawn. It was darkness. You (the BJP) will not see the rays of power in the next four years at least. The (next Assembly) elections will be held after four years. After that we will win again, Raut said.

The Parliamentarian also said that the BJP still has not come to terms after the shocks it received after that dawn.

The Maharashtra Assembly poll results were declared on October 24 last year and the BJP (which won 105 seats) and Shiv Sena (56 seats), which contested the polls in alliance, were in a position to form the government comfortably.

The two parties, however, fell out following differences over sharing the chief ministerial post on a rotational basis.

Maharashtra faced a political crisis when no party or alliance could form a government even 18 days after the poll result was declared, following which the President's rule was imposed in the state on November 12 last year.

The Presidents rule, however, was revoked before Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were sworn-in.

The oath-taking ceremony had led to a series of twists and turns in Maharashtras politics with majority of the NCP MLAs, whose support Ajit Pawar had claimed at the time of being sworn-in, expressed their allegiance to party president Sharad Pawar, who opposed that government.

The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress -- which were holding parleys over forming the government in the state after Uddhav Thackeray-led party severed ties with the BJP -- then gave final shape to the MVA government.

Thackeray took oath as the chief minister of the MVA government on November 28. Ajit Pawar is Thackeray's deputy in the present MVA government. PTI AW/ENM BNM RSY RSY