A day after Uddhav Thackeray resigned as Maharashtra chief minister, all eyes are on Raj Bhavan to see when does Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invite the BJP to form the next government in the state.
The process for the change of regime in the state, which began with the rebellion of around 40 of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs under Eknath Shinde's leadership, got a boost after BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis met Koshyari on Tuesday night and asked him to order a floor test of the Thackeray government, claiming it had lost majority.
Thackeray (62) resigned Wednesday night, minutes after Supreme Court refused to stay Governor Koshyari's direction to his government to take a floor test in the Assembly on Thursday.
"I don't want to play these games. If those people who were brought up by Sena chief (Balasaheb Thackeray) want to rejoice the fact that they pulled his son down then it is my mistake that I put my faith in them. I don't want the blood of my Shiv Sainiks to spill on the streets and so I am stepping down from the CM's post as well as that of an MLC," said Thackeray in a televised address, that has garnered praise on the social media for his "grace and poise", as many described it.
Thackeray said that he was happy he was able to fulfill his father's wish of renaming Aurangabad and Osmanabad. The Uddhav-led cabinet had cleared the proposal to rename the two cities on Wednesday.
His resignation was greeted with jubilation by BJP leaders who distributed sweets.
BJP's Devendra Fadnavis, who is expected to make a comeback as chief minister after holding the post from 2014 to 2019, is scheduled to brief media later Thursday on the future course of action, which will include staking claim to form the next government.
Rebel Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde, who are now in a luxury hotel in Goa after spending over a week at posh resorts in Surat and Guwahati, are expected to return to Mumbai soon.
It is not yet clear if the Shinde-led group will merge with any party. Shinde Wednesday night reiterated that they are Shiv Sainiks and will remain in Shiv Sena.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Legislature Secretary Rajendra Bhagwat issued a statement saying there won't be a special session of the Assembly on Thursday as the purpose for which it was convened (floor test) does not exist anymore.
Anticipating that the rebel Sena MLAs might start returning to Mumbai soon, police have beefed up security in the city, an official said.(With PTI inputs)