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President's rule in Maharashtra, Assembly under suspended animation

The President accepted the recommendation and signed the notification for imposition of the central rule in the state

Tuesday November 12, 2019 8:12 PM, IANS

Maharashtra under Prez Rule

[Sena leader with Maharashtra Governor B.S. Koshyari in a file photo tweeted by @AUThackeray]

New Delhi: After nearly three weeks of political drama, Maharashtra was on Tuesday brought under President's rule and its Assembly was placed under suspended animation, with the Centre saying it was "left with no alternative".

On a day of swift developments, Maharashtra Governor B.S. Koshyari sent his recommendation to the Union 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 in the state. The meeting was held just before the Prime Minister left for Brazil on a visit to attend BRICS Summit.

The President accepted the recommendation and signed the notification for imposition of the central rule in the state.

The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday said the President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra with assembly in suspended animation, after political parties failed to form government even 20 days after the results of the assembly polls were declared last month.

In a statement, Home Ministry 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."

She said the recommendation made by the Governor to the President was refered to Home Ministry "upon which Union Cabinet decided on Tuesday to recommend to President to issue a proclamation under article 356 of the Constitution, imposing President rule in state of Maharashtra and keep the Assembly in suspended animation."

In the 288-member Assembly, the BJP emerged as the single largest party, winning 105 seats in the elections whose results were declared on October 24.

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.

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 to form government 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 NCP to form the government in the state on Monday evening, giving it time till 8 p.m. on Tuesday to demonstrate its support. However, before the expiry of the deadline, the President's rule was imposed.

Parties can still approach Governor

Political parties in Maharashtra can still stake their claim to form government after the imposition of President's rule, say Constitution experts.

"The President has not dissolved the Assembly yet. So, political parties in the fray can approach the Governor staking their claim on government formation", said P.D.T. Achary, former Secretary General, Lok Sabha.

Achary insisted that Governor, in its discretion, saw the parties could not muster the numbers to form the government, therefore he sent the message to the President suggesting its rule in the state.

"The government in the state can be formed, if there is a challenge to the President's rule filed in the Supreme Court", said Achary while commenting on Shiv Sena's petition, terming Governor's decision arbitrary by not allowing it enough time to muster support from other parties.

Politicking continues in Maharashtra

Though the imposition of President's Rule in Maharashtra on Tuesday took all political parties by surprise, hectic politicking continued among various contenders here to cobble up a viable government to the satisfaction of Governor B.S. Koshyari.

The centre's decision to impose President's rule in the state was sharply criticized 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 pointed out.

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.

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