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Published On: Tue, Nov 12th, 2019

Political Uncertainty in Maharashtra,Prez Imposed Central Rule

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congressjpegMUMBAI/ NEW DELHI : President’s Rule was imposed in Maharashtra on Tuesday after President Ram Nath Kovind approved Governor BS Koshyari’s report after no party could prove majority.
Koshyari had given time to the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) till 8.30pm on Tuesday to prove it has the numbers after the Sena a day earlier failed to get letters of support from its political rivals before the deadline set by the Governor who rejected its plea for three more days to do so.
Maharashtra has a total of 288 Assembly seats. The BJP has the highest number – 105 — but is not near the halfway mark of 144. The Sena has 56 seats. The NCP and the Congress have 54 and 44 seats, respectively.
While the BJP has been reaching out to Independents and smaller parties, it still does not have the numbers to form the government without the Sena’s support. And while the Sena has been eyeing the chief minister’s post, it is not in a position to form the government without the BJP either, unless both the Congress and the NCP prop up a government formed by the Sena.
President’s Rule can be imposed in the state for six months after which the EC will have to announce fresh polls in Maharashtra. However, if any political formulation emerges in the meantime that can prove its majority on the floor of the House, President’s Rule can be dissolved.
The state has had two stints of President’s Rule — once for 112 days from February 17, 1980, and June 8, 1980, when the government was dismissed in spite of Pawar enjoying majority support in the Assembly. More recently, between September 28, 2014, and October 31 the same year, the government was dismissed since the Congress separated from its allies.
On the other hand, the Shiv Sena moved the Supreme Court against the Governor for not granting an extension of three days to the party to get letters of support from NCP and Congress. Meanwhile, three senior Congress leaders including — Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and K C Venugopal — have reached Mumbai to hold discussions with Pawar.
Earlier, BJP, which emerged as the single-largest party with 105 seats post the October 24-Assembly elections verdict, did not stake claim after ally Sena denied support. Sena, with 56 seats in its kitty, was invited next by the Governor. The party has now adopted a wait and watch policy.
After post-party committee meeting, BJP leader Sudhir Mugantiwar said President’s rule was not expected and ensured that people’s mandate is respected. He said”President’s rule is definitely something we did not expect. We will certainly try to ensure that people’s mandate is respected. We will try to form a stable government. He said.
Keeping the doors open for reconciliation, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday refused to say his party has severed all ties with its pre-poll ally. When asked by a reporter “is the BJP option completely finished”, Thackeray said:”Why are you in such a hurry? It’s politics. President has given us six months time.”
The President’s Rule didn’t stop allies Congress and NCP from holding discussions on whether to support the Shiv Sena in forming government.
“Yesterday, Shiv Sena formally asked for support for the first time. First we allies will discuss amongst ourselves, then have discussions with the Shiv Sena,” said Congress leader Ahmed Patel, addressing the media jointly with NCP chief Sharad Pawar. “Unless we discuss how the government can run smoothly, it won’t be easy to form an alliance,” said Sharad Pawar.
The Shiv Sena’s attempts to form a government with sworn rivals NCP and Congress reached a dead-end yesterday despite a call from the party’s president Sonia Gandhi giving hope to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. The Congress took a step back reportedly after a call between Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar.
The Congress says it was Sharad Pawar who wanted more time. Sources say Mr Pawar told Sonia Gandhi yesterday in a phone call that there was a need to discuss the contours of support to the Sena. “NCP is just two seats short of Sena,” Mr Pawar reportedly pointed out, indicating a rethink on whether the Sena should have a full term for its chief minister.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, a Congress leader, is representing the Sena, say sources. At a news briefing, Mr Thackeray said the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress may have different ideologies but they “will find a way to work together”.
Though Congress MLAs in Maharashtra favour forming a government with the Sena, the party leadership, especially Sonia Gandhi, is extremely wary of a tie-up with an ideologically different party, one that it directly fought in Mumbai and many other places in Maharashtra in the polls. The Congress is also concerned that the Sena’s divorce with the BJP, its partner of nearly 30 years, may not be permanent.
(Bureau Report With Agency Inputs ).

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