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Fadnavis govt invalid; ask it to prove majority: Shiv Sena to Maharashtra Governor

Shiv Sena meets Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and demands that the Devendra Fadnavis government be declared a "minority" government

Sharpening its attack on the Devendra Fadnavis government for its "manipulative" victory in the trust vote in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Shiv Sena on Thursday met Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and demanded that it should be declared a "minority" government and he should order a fresh confidence motion.

The former ally of BJP alleged that Fadnavis government with current strength of 10 ministers is "invalid" as it fails to fulfil the provisions of Article 164.

Senior Sena leader Diwakar Raote said they have requested the Governor to ask BJP to prove majority "or else declare it a minority government and seek a fresh trust vote."

"The President of India has appointed Governor to uphold the Constitution. But if the government itself is unconstitutional (then) is it not his duty to take action in the interest of people?," Raote told PTI after meeting Rao at Raj Bhavan.

The fledgling BJP government won the trust motion in the Assembly through a voice vote yesterday, drawing angry reactions from Shiv Sena and Congress which have accused the ruling BJP of failing to prove its majority and "strangulating democracy".

Terming the Fadnavis-led government as "illegitimate" which is formed by "violating" the constitutional provisions, Raote said, "Our delegation, led by (Leader of Opposition Eknath Shinde) has reminded the governor that this (BJP) government is an invalid government as per (provisions of) constitution.

"When it has only 10 ministers, how have they fulfilled the provision of Article 164 of the constitution?," Raote questionned.

Article 164 (1A) provides that strength of council of ministers headed by the CM cannot exceed 15 per cent of the strength of the Assembly (the total number of MLAs) but it can't be less than 12 members either.

Besides Shinde and Raote, the delegation comprised Pratap Sarnaik, Neelam Gorhe, Sunil Prabhu, Deepak Sawant and Ajay Chowdhary.

Raote alleged that minds of people have been "muddled" by the BJP, and that the party failed to provide clarity on the total number of legislators who voted for the party during the trust vote.

Yesterday's trust vote was mired in controversy as a one-line motion moved by BJP MLA Ashish Shelar seeking confidence of the House in the BJP government was declared passed by voice vote even as opposition Shiv Sena and Congress insisted on a division.

"The Speaker has not allowed the division of votes when all the parties demanded it. In this case, how does the BJP intend to prove that they got more than 122 votes? The BJP will not speak the truth and other parties have no idea," Raote said.

Referring to the stand taken by NCP legislators in the House where they remained seated quietly during the procedure, Raote said, "NCP has already said they have not voted for or against the BJP. It's a mystery how (BJP) still got majority when all the opposition parties were against the BJP winning the trust vote and we were present in the House. This is very serious," he added.

Fadnavis had yesterday dismissed Sena and Congress' allegations of "foul play" and said that every rule and regulation was adhered to while passing the trust vote.

"If the demand (for division) was brought at the right time, we would have accepted the demand. We went through the legal way while opposition parties did not follow rules," he had said.

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