Maharashtra Assembly members take oath without a chief minister
The swearing in of members of the 14th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Wednesday marked a rare occasion when the House assembled for the session without the formation of a government and appointment of a chief minister.
State Vidhan Bhawan's in-charge secretary Rajendra Bhagawat told PTI that during the last couple of decades, the chief minister was sworn in first followed by other members.
'The floor test is also then conducted immediately or in the following session. In the present case, no chief minister has been administered oath, but the swearing-in ceremony of House members is being held,' he noted.
'The Supreme Court's interim verdict has made it mandatory for us to carry out the swearing-in ceremony. Once the oath is administered to all MLAs, the Assembly will come into motion without a head and the cabinet,' he said.
Bhagawat further said that once the chief minister takes oath, he will have to form a cabinet.
'The schedule of the next full session would be decided in the first cabinet meeting. The floor test will be held in that session,' he added.
A special session of the state Assembly began in Mumbai on Wednesday morning to administer oath to members in the 288-member House.
Pro tem speaker Kalidas Kolambkar is administering the oath to the legislators at the session.
Among those sworn in early were Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal, Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan.
As Ajit Pawar entered the Vidhan Bhavan premises on Wednesday morning, his cousin and Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule greeted him with a warm hug.
Sule, the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, was standing at the Vidhan Bhavan's entrance to greet her party legislators.
Ajit Pawar, while speaking to reporters in the Vidhan Bhavan premises, said, 'I was and am still with the NCP. I never left the party.'
The newly-elected members could not take oath even a month after results of the Assembly polls were announced due to dramatic political developments in the state.
The state remained under Presidents rule from November 12 to 23 after no political party or alliance was able to form a government.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to appoint a pro tem speaker and ensure that all elected members of the House are sworn in on Wednesday itself by 5 pm.
The BJP-led government, which was formed with the support of NCP leader Ajit Pawar on November 23, collapsed on Tuesday afternoon, after Pawar stepped down as the deputy chief minister and Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi, comprising the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress, on Monday submitted a letter claiming support of 162 MLAs to the governor.
The NCP has announced that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray would be the next chief minister of Maharashtra.
He will be sworn in as the chief minister on Thursday evening at the Shivaji Park in Dadar, the place where the Sena holds the traditional Dussehra rally each year.