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National

‘Is President in your pocket?’ Sena asks BJP

Agency News

The Shiv Sena on Saturday slammed senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sudhir Mungantiwar for his statement that Maharashtra may head for President's rule if new government is not put in place by November 7.

Shiv Sena in an editorial published by its mouthpiece, Saamna, also sarcastically questionned the BJP whether the President's seal was lying at its office in the state.

The tenure of the current Maharashtra Assembly led by BJP-Shiv Sena ends on November 8. Terming the Sena's demand for chief minister's post on a rotational basis with the BJP as the "main hurdle" in government formation, Mungantiwar had said, "A new government will have to be in place within the stipulated time, or else the President will have to intervene. President's Rule will be imposed if the government formation doesn't happen in the given time."

Attacking Mungantiwar, the finance minister in the outgoing government, Sena said he issued the "threat" of imposing the President's Rule, as other "intimidation tactics" like using investigating agencies for settling political scores have fallen flat in Maharashtra.

"What the common people have to make out of the threat given by Mungantiwar? Is that supposed to mean that President of India is in our (BJP's) pocket or that the seal of the President is lying in the office of the BJP in Maharashtra? "Are these people trying to convey that the BJP could impose the President's Rule in Maharashtra using that seal in the event of that party not able to form its government?" the Sena questioned in the editorial published on "Saamna" news daily.

The Marathi editorial titled "Insult to Maharashtra, Is President in your pocket?" described Mungantiwar's comments "undemocratic and unconstitutional." "The statement shows the lack of knowledge about the Constitution andthe rule of law. This threat might be a move to sidestep the established norms and get things done the way one wants. This statement is an insult to the mandate of the people," the party said.

In the October 21 assembly polls, the BJP failed to perform up to the mark though it emerged as the single largest party by winning 105 seats, 17 less than the 2014 tally, in the 288-member House. The ally Sena won 56 seats, 7 less than its 2014 performance.

"The attitude that only we will rule irrespective of numbers and no one else can attempt formation of the government was defeated in the recent elections," the Sena said. "The President is the supreme authority in the Constitution. It is not about individual but the country. The country is not in anybody's pocket," the editorial said. The Sena also said it should not be blamed for the present impasse over formation of the government.

Interestingly, Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party too on Friday criticised Mungantiwar's statement as a "kind of threat." The Sena, which is locked in a bitter battle with the BJP over sharing of power since the results of the assembly elections were declared on October 24, also dared its senior ally to stake claim to form the next government.