Recent weeks have seen the state of Maharashtra turn into a political roller-coaster of sorts - dizzying levels of dramatic tension have unfolded as the BJP-Sena alliance crumbled under the weight of its own party leaders.
We've put together a quick recap of the events that unfolded over the last month - exploring the political wrestling match that's seen allies turn to bitter rivals, unexpected allies and dramatic statements. Irrespective of the outcome, the developments have been no less entertaining than Bigg Boss and here's everything that transpired.
The Election Aftermath
The Maharashtra assembly elections came to an end on the 24th of October - with the BJP-Sena alliance comfortably taking the lead with 105 and 56 seats, respectively. The Congress, along with Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chalked up 44 and 54 seats respectively, with 29 seats going to independent candidates and smaller parties.
© Reuters; Actor Anil Kapoor casts a vote during the Maharashtra state elections.
Historically, the Shiv Sena and BJP have had a tenuous relationship, at best, throughout their 35-year alliance. While on the same terms on many socio-political issues due to a shared Hindutva ideology, several political analysts predicted that post-election, something was sure to bring a wedge between both parties.
These predictions proved true in the end, and perhaps far more than what analysts might have realised. Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena faced major flak from Mumbaikars - several of whom criticised the party's subpar work with Mumbai's Municipal Corporation.
SS lost in Bandra East
Even Mumbai performance is below par
Mumbaikars are fed up of pothole ridden roads & corruption
What happened to Brimstowad project for drainage ?
For SS, Mumbai is just sone ki murgi jisko slowly halal kar rahein hain#MaharashtraNeedsDevendra
The key demand that began to stir this diplomatic stew was that the Shiv Sena wanted the chief minister position to be split between itself and the BJP - each party holding the position for a period of 2.5 years. Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray claimed that an agreement between himself and BJP boss Amit Shah existed.
The BJP, however, wasn't in the mood to let this happen, and asserted that the Sena's claim was false.
This stirred up a hornet's nest that several could see coming - both parties held heated press conferences on the 8th of November, where previous CM Devendra Fadnavis as well as Uddhav Thackeray called their counterparts liars. This was where things got interesting - especially when Twitter began to pit Thackeray against Amit Shah.
He is waiting for chance to sit on Uddhav Thackerey.— jyotiray (@jyotiray) November 9, 2019 President's Rule In Maharashtra
With an obvious power vacuum in place due to the Sena-BJP scuffle, many felt that the NCP and the Congress would take an opportunity to get involved in government formation discussions - although they initially maintained that they would stick to opposition roles instead.
Soon, Governor of Maharashtra, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, approached the BJP, then the Sena and finally the NCP to form a government if possible - each of them either refuted the request or asked for more time.
The drama further heightened on the 12th of November, when Maharashtra went under President's rule for the third time in its history, with no party at the helm of the state. Soon after, news surfaced regarding talks between the Sena, NCP and Congress, who aimed to set up a non-BJP front and dash Fadnavis' hopes of a second term. After ten days of deliberation and discussion, NCP chief Sharad Pawar announced last Friday that the three parties would unite to form a government, headed by Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Unfortunately for Pawar, he was soon in for a rude shock.Uncle vs. Nephew
Just a few hours after the announcement, an early-morning oath-taking ceremony took place, where Devendra Fadnavis was re-throned as CM, with a surprise announcement - his Deputy CM was now Ajit Pawar, nephew of Sharad Pawar.
© Twitter; Ajit Pawar and Devendra Fadnavis with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari after taking oath.
This event catapulted an already dramatic situation into full-tilt chaos, as media outlets and social media speculators began to wonder - just who was it that did the backstabbing, and what on Earth was going on?November 24, 2019
Soon enough, Pawar senior clarified with the media that his nephew had gone rogue, and his actions did not have the backing of the NCP or the new alliance.The Supreme Court Gets Involved
Furious over the Ajit Pawar's betrayal and Fadnavis' questionable ascension to the CM chair, the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance took the matter to the Supreme Court, calling the move 'unconstitutional'. Their request was simple - to order an immediate floor test, as is usually the procedure in such situations.
Swiftly taking charge of the situation, the SC heard the alliances' pleas on Sunday, with the hearing concluding on Monday. Tuesday morning saw the expected result take place - the court ordered a floor test to be held by Wednesday evening - putting the BJP in a corner.
Finally, on Tuesday afternoon, Ajit Pawar announced his resignation, with Devendra Fadnavis following suit in a press conference. According to Fadnavis, Ajit resigned due to 'personal reasons' following the court order. Without the support required to form a government, Fadnavis himself resigned from the CM position.
Forget House of Cards. Forget Game of Thrones. The real show to watch is Maharashtra State Assembly elections. #ajitpawarresigns— Eclectic Junkie (@shibangidas) November 26, 2019
In an interesting turn of events, he also became the shortest-serving CM of Maharashtra - dropping the role a mere 80 hours after taking oath.What Next?
Soon after the resignations, the new alliance leaders gathered together at Mumbai's Hotel Trident, where they organised themselves as the 'Maha Vikas Aghadi' (Maharashtra Development Alliance), with Uddhav Thackeray as their leader.
© Reuters; Uddhav Thackeray flanked by son and Yuva Sena President Aaditya Thackeray, and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar.
As of right now, party workers are celebrating their win over the BJP - it's definitely been a strange turn of events that no one could see coming, and social media has erupted in a frenzy over the last week or so.
Many simply enjoyed the political theatre playing its best show.
Thank you guys. India got to watch a fantastic suspense thriller movie absolutely free. Got to know later that it wasn't free and BJP paid the price. #MahaTwist #MaharashtraKaMahaDrama pic.twitter.com/YS9iX43kKh— Jogulamba (@JogulambaV) November 27, 2019
Several others brought up Ajit Pawar's scheming to the forefront as well.November 27, 2019
One of the major points raised across social media was attached to #BJPMuktBharat. Users compared political maps from 2017 to 2019 - observing the gradual decline of BJP power across Indian states, despite dominance at the central level.November 27, 2019
Finally, plenty of memes and jokes around the situation arose - including this hilarious video of Uddhav Thackeray busting some moves.
Uddhav Thackeray on fire ð¥ð¥ pic.twitter.com/CrvNFvrJ3c— Kida (@Kida03059510) November 27, 2019
While the democratic process wasn't particularly followed well during these events, everyone seemed to sink their teeth into one of the biggest political dramas we've seen in the history of Maharashtra. And now, only time will tell how Thackeray will take things in the months and years ahead.