In a major political defeat for the Bharatiya Janata Party, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday quit, hours after Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also submitted his resignation, barely 80 hours after they were sworn in on Nov. 23 early morning.
"Ajit Pawar handed in his resignation to me this morning on personal grounds. So, now we don't have the requisite numbers to continue. Accordingly, I have decided to resign. I shall meet the Governor and submit my resignation today," Fadnavis told a crowded media conference this afternoon.
Fadnavis took charge of his new assignment on Monday morning, but Ajit Pawar, who did not take charge, decided to quit and gave his resignation letter to the CM on Tuesday morning.
He said the BJP will now sit in the Opposition and perform in a constructive manner, raise the issues of the farmers, the poor and other sections of society.
Fadnavis also thanked the people of Maharashtra and the BJP, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, his colleagues and legislators for reposing faith in him and giving him an opportunity to serve for the past five years as the state CM.
The political development was greeted with distribution of sweets and celebrations by activists of the Shiv Sena, Natioanlist Congress Party and Congress, besides other smaller parties.
Earlier, Fadnavis renewed his tirade against the Shiv Sena for insulting the "public mandate" which it had got in alliance with the BJP and deciding to ally with other parties.
This is the second time in 80 hours that the state was rocked after Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were quietly sworn in during an early morning ceremony on Saturday at Raj Bhavan by Governor B.S. Koshyari, sparking a nationwide furore.
The following day, Sunday, the Sena-NCP-Congress moved the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing which was granted and the matter posted for Monday.
After the hearing on Monday, today the apex court ordered an assembly floor test on Nov. 27, with open voting and live telecast.