Mumbai, Nov 12 : This is the third time Maharashtra has come under central rule in its 59-year old history.
Previously, the state witnessed spells of President’s Rule for 112 days in Feb-June 1980, followed by 33 days in September-October 2014.
The latest President’s Rule may have given a breather to the third largest political party after the October elections – the Nationalist Congress Party – to finalise a mutually acceptable understanding with the Congress and also probably the Shiv Sena.
Importantly, after the tenure of the previous assembly ended on November 9, Governor Koshyari moved into high gear for the government formation process by inviting the single-largest party, Bharatiya Janata Party. However, on Sunday, the BJP expressed its inability to form the government as it could not muster the requisite number of a simple majority of 145 in the 288-member House.
On Sunday, the Governor invited Shiv Sena which lost the race as it could not produce letters of support from the Congress-NCP which had already given their ‘in-principle’ approval to a Sena-led government.
Koshyari also rejected the Sena request for a two-three days extra time to prove its support, and the party’s delegation left Raj Bhavan empty-handed on Monday evening.
Late on Monday, the NCP was called and given time till tonight (November 12) 2030 hours to form the government, but it is not clear whether it would go to Raj Bhavan at the appointed hour, now that the political scenario has suddenly changed.
This morning, the NCP also sought three days time more to prove its majority which was declined, said a party leader. Within hours, the Governor submitted a report to the Centre invoking Article 356 of the Constitution, recommending President’s Rule which was approved by the Union Cabinet and later ratified by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The move was sharply criticised by the Congress, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's Raj Thackeray, while the Sena has moved the Supreme Court challenging why it was not granted an extension of time to prove its majority.
Legal experts point out that since the newly-elected legislators have not been sworn-in by a Pro-Tem Speaker to be appointed by the Governor, there is no legislature in existence, so there’s no question of putting it under ‘suspended animation’ for the period of President’s Rule.
“Since the House has not been constituted, how can any other measures take effect. Things will move forward only after any party/group is able to prove its majority before the Governor and convince that they can form a government,” a legal expert opined.
The NCP Legislature Party chief and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar expressed confidence that once the party is able to prove its majority, a new government would be sworn-in soon.
NCP National Spokesperson, Nawab Malik however, sounded a word of caution when he said this afternoon that it is not possible for the NCP to form the government as it does not enjoy a majority, without the support of the Congress and Shiv Sena. (UNI)