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Uddhav Thackeray Resigns As Maharashtra Chief Minister

The Supreme Court had refused to stay Thursday's floor test for the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

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Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday resigned from the post of Maharashtra Chief Minister after the Supreme Court refused to stay Thursday’s floor test for the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

Addressing people moments after the SC decision, Thackeray said he was happy that in his “last Cabinet meeting” he was able to fulfil the dream of Sena founder Balsaheb Thackeray of renaming Aurangabad and Osmanabad.

Thanking coalition partners Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi, he took on rebels led by Eknath Shinde asking their reasons for the anger against him. “Be happy that you have brought down the son of Balasaheb Thackeray. You have broken the heart of his party. Last week I left the official residence of Chief Minister, today I am resigning,” he said even before the trust vote on the floor of the House.     

“I am also resigning from the Maharashtra council, I am back to working for and with my people,” he said after the two-bench vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala passed the order on the plea of Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu, challenging the direction of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari

While the rebels led by Eknath Shinde sought an immediate floor test, the Thackeray side wanted it to be postponed by one week given that the issue regarding the disqualification of 16 Sena rebels was still pending.

With the end to the nine-day long Maharashtra political stand-off veering in the favour of the rebels and opposition BJP, the Maharashtra Cabinet headed by Thackeray today approved the renaming of Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar and adjoining Osmanabad to Dharashiv.

The long-pending move by the Shiv Sena-led MVA was seen as an apparent bid by the beleaguered Thackeray to underline his party’s ‘Hindutva’ lineage that has been challenged by Shinde and opposition BJP. In its last meeting, the Cabinet also approved naming Navi Mumbai Airport as DY Patil International Airport.

The decisions were taken even while the Supreme Court was hearing Prabhu’s plea against the direction of the Maharashtra Governor for a floor test in the Assembly on Thursday. Significantly, Thackeray also thanked ministers and bureaucrats for their cooperation during the past two-and–a- half years, saying that his own people have brought upon the situation on him.

Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis is now expected to take charge as Maharashtra Chief Minister. Shinde, who had been camping in Guwahati since last week with a majority of party legislators and several independent MLAs, today reached Goa.

Appearing for Shinde in the Supreme Court, senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul had argued that floor test can never be delayed and that it was the “only way to determine political accountability and avoid horse trading.” He also said that proceedings of disqualification pending “are no grounds to delay the floor test”.

Appearing for Prabhu, senior Advocate Abhiskek Manu Singhvi said the direction for a floor test tomorrow reveals unholy, undue haste. He also said that the Governor was not a holy cow and had taken a political decision.

The order to conduct a floor test in a “supersonic speed” amounts to putting the cart before the horse, he said, adding that people who have changed sides cannot represent the will of the people and “heavens will not fall if the floor test is not held tomorrow”.