IANS/New Delhi/ Mumbai
Maharashtra was plunged into political uncertainty yesterday after the central government imposed direct rule on the state after weeks of deadlock over who would form its government following fiercely fought elections.
The state assembly was placed under suspended animation, with the central government saying it was “left with no alternative”.
On a day of swift developments, Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari sent his recommendation to the federal Home Ministry calling for imposing president’s rule around noon, saying his attempts to put a government in place in the state had failed.
Soon after, Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened a meeting of the cabinet which conveyed to President Ram Nath Kovind its recommendation for imposition of central rule on the state. The meeting was held just before Modi left for Brazil to attend the Brics Summit.
The president accepted the recommendation and signed the notification for imposition of the central rule.
The Home Ministry said the president’s rule was imposed after political parties failed to form a government even 20 days after the results of the assembly elections were declared last month.
In a statement, the ministry’s spokesperson Vasudha Gupta said: “Governor (B S Koshyari) made the recommendation to the president in the noon explaining that he made all attempts but not succeeded in efforts.”
In the 288-member assembly, the Bharatiya Janata party emerged as the single largest party, winning 105 seats.
The BJP, along with its pre-poll alliance partner Shiv Sena, was in a comfortable position to form the government. But the Shiv Sena, with 56 members, insisted on rotational chief ministership and because of differences on this issue, it refused to join the BJP in government formation.
On Sunday, the BJP announced it would not form government. The Shiv Sena has since been trying to form a government on its own with the help of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, which won 44 and 54 seats, respectively.
Koshyari invited the BJP first to form the government on Saturday, but after the saffron party said it was not in a position to show majority, he invited Shiv Sena on Sunday and gave a deadline of 24 hours. The Shiv Sena could not present support of adequate number of MLAs during this time period.
Subsequently, Koshyari invited the NCP to form the government on Monday evening, giving it time till 8pm yesterday to demonstrate its support. However, before the expiry of the deadline, the president’s rule was imposed.
However, hectic politicking continued among various contenders to cobble up a viable government to the satisfaction of the governor.
Ranked among the most politically stable, this is only the third time that Maharashtra has come under central rule in its 59-year old history.
The state witnessed spells of president’s rule for 112 days in February-June 1980, followed by 33 days in September-October 2014.
The latest move was sharply criticised by the Congress, and 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,” one expert said.
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