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Mandate was for Fadnavis government: BJP defends early morning swearing-in


New Delhi, Nov 23: The BJP on Saturday asserted that it had the "electoral and moral" mandate to form a government in Maharashtra and brushed aside the criticism of its alliance with NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who was accused by the saffron party in the past of corruption, saying the tie-up was guided by the "given situation".

Ravi Shankar Prasad

BJP leader and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at the Congress-NCP and the Shiv Sena, saying those who were "dead opposed" to each other joined hands to "grab" power, while the saffron party and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had won the popular mandate to form government.

Addressing a press conference here, he said Fadnavis will give a stable, honest and effective government to the state.

The law minister said Maharashtra governor took the decision to swear-in Fadnavis and Pawar as the chief minister and the deputy chief minister after both leaders, as the heads of their respective legislative parties, gave the letters of support of their MLAs.

The governor had no counter-claim by any other party or alliance, he said.

Prasad expressed confidence that the BJP-led government enjoys the support of a majority of MLAs but did not put numbers to that, saying the floor of the Assembly is the proper place for this and an "effective majority" will be proven.

Hitting back at the Congress over its allegation of "murder of democracy" against the BJP, he said wryly that if the Sena sacrifices its principles to ally with the Congress, then this is a "respect" for democracy but if the BJP works for a stable government and is supported by a big section of the NCP, then this is against it.

He said leaders of the Congress as well as the NCP had said earlier that the mandate was for them to sit in opposition but they then got into "match-fixing" to grab power.

Asked about the BJP allying with Ajit Pawar, he said a decision was taken "given the situation" as a big like Maharashtra needs to have a stable government.

Pawar has often been accused of corruption by the BJP in the past.

Maharashtra twist: Sena-NCP-Cong move Supreme Court, say Governor acted in partisan manner

Prasad said the rival parties were in a conspiracy to control India''s "financial capital" (Mumbai) through back door, underlining the import of controlling power in resource-rich Maharashtra to influence national politics.

To the opposition''s contention if the Union Cabinet had met to revoke the President''s rule in the state, he said the prime minister has got certain power under Rule 12 of Government of India (transaction of business) rules and there is procedure for the Cabinet to give ex-facto approval to a decision.

Prasad also had strong words for the Sena, a longtime ally of the BJP which broke ties in its bid to rule the state, said the party sacrificed principles of Hindutva and nationalism of its founder Bal Thackeray in its greed for power.

Sena''s leaders and Saamna, a daily run by the party, used "abuses" for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah while remaining in the alliance, he said.

Noting that the BJP-Sena alliance had won a majority, the BJP leader said the "prospect" of Fadnavis becoming chief minister played a crucial role in the victory of Sena candidates and so did the support of his party''s support base.

The BJP on its own won close to 70 per cent of seats it had fought, he said.

"The electoral as well as moral mandate of forming the government was with the BJP," he said, and wondered as to what was behind the Sena''s "excitement" to rule the state. He, though, did not elaborate.

Asked about claims of NCP president Sharad Pawar that a majority of the party''s MLAs are with him, Prasad said he will not comment on its internal matter.

In separate comments, BJP leader and Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said "sixer of people''s mandate" has defeated "fixers".

Speaking to reporters, Naqvi said Fadnavis will give a stable, honest and effective government to the state.

"When the pitch is slippery, there is definite risk to get run out. This is the situation of the Congress and their power hungry players," he said, drawing a cricket analogy to take a swipe at BJP''s rivals.

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