Maharashtra goes under President’s rule

Governor tells Kovind no party had the numbers to form govt.

New Delhi/Mumbai: Maharashtra was on Tuesday placed under President’s rule amid a stalemate over government formation. President Ram Nath Kovind signed the proclamation imposing President’s rule in the state following governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s report and recommendation.

The Governor, in his report submitted to the Centre at noon, said that none of the three parties he had invited to form the government since Saturday — the BJP, Shiv Sena and the NCP — could produce enough numbers to stake claim to power even 20 days after the October 24 state election results and that he was not in a position to give more time, officials said.

Mr Koshyari noted that the NCP had, on Tuesday morning, conveyed to him that the party needed three more days to gather requisite support. The NCP spoke with the governor at 11 am, hours before its 8.30 pm deadline, asking for more time. “He is satisfied that the government cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution, (and therefore) has today submitted a report as contemplated by provision of Article 356 of the Constitution,” the governor’s office tweeted.

The governor’s report was examined by the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and it decided to recommend a proclamation under Article 356 (1), thereby imposing President’s rule in Maharashtra and keeping the Assembly in suspended animation.

Opposition parties criticised the move, accusing the governor of doing the BJP’s bidding without exhausting all his constitutional options.

Imposition of President’s rule, however, didn’t stop the Congress and the NCP from holding discussions on whether to support the Shiv Sena in forming the government.

A flurry of political activity continued in the state with top Congress leaders, including AICC treasurer Ahmed Patel, Maharashtra in-charge Mallikarjun Kharge and party general secretary K.C. Venugopal reaching Mumbai to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had sent her top party leaders to Mumbai for discussions on government formation after speaking with Pawar on the phone on Tuesday morning.

The Congress and the NCP on Tuesday said that they had not yet decided to support the Shiv Sena as they need clarity on “certain points”. “Yesterday (on Monday) 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.

“The Congress and the NCP contested the elections as an alliance. After Shiv Sena approached us seeking support to form the government, leaders of both parties held consultations with each other for the first time. Once we decide the points on which we can support the Shiv Sena, we will hold discussions with them,” Pawar said.

“Unless we discuss how the government can run smoothly, it won’t be easy to form an alliance,” he added.

When asked by when talks will be over, Pawar said that now they have six months’ time to hold deliberations and come to an agreement since President’s rule has been imposed in the state.

President’s rule can be revoked before the six-month period if a situation emerges for formation of a stable government, officials said.

The Congress and the NCP leaders said they would continue their efforts to form a government and approach the governor as soon as there is a pact.

Next Story