A four-day-old coalition government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) collapsed in the western Indian state of Maharashtra after it failed to muster a majority.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced his intention to resign at a press conference in Mumbai, the state’s capital, which is also home to India’s benchmark stock exchange
and leading conglomerates, Reliance Industries Ltd and the Tata group.
The latest twist in the state’s ongoing political drama is a setback for PM Narendra Modi who had backed Fadnavis’ candidacy for the top job as his party laid out its ambition to govern all of India’s states. The BJP found itself in a minority after its partner walked out of a coalition due to differences over power sharing.
“We no longer have the numbers needed to form a government,” Fadnavis said at a press conference in Mumbai. “I will be submitting my resignation to the governor.”
The move on Tuesday came hours after India’s top court ordered a floor test so that Fadnavis could prove majority. The BJP leader was sworn in as chief minister in a hurried ceremony, even as an alliance of opposition parties said that they had the numbers needed to form the government in the state.
The BJP had emerged as the single largest party in state elections in October but fallen short of a clear majority in the 288-seat legislature. A pre-poll alliance with its regional partner, the Shiv Sena, fell apart over sharing the chief minister’s post.
Since then, the race to form a government in the country’s richest state has been something of a political thriller with unexpected alliances, infighting, a hurried swearing-in, and a hearing in the top court.
Last week, the state’s main opposition party, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, the Shiv Sena and the Congress party had announced a plan to form a coalition
government. The plan was thwarted overnight with the BJP’s Fadnavis being sworn in as chief minister and Ajit Pawar, a senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, as deputy chief minister.
The latest development sets the stage for the formation of a new coalition government. The Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress party together claim they have the support of 162 lawmakers in the 288-elected member assembly.
Maharashtra is India’s richest state and its capital Mumbai, a city of 18 million people, is home to companies such as Reliance Industries and Tata Group.