Mumbai: The union cabinet Tuesday cleared the imposition of President’s Rule in Maharashtra, about five hours before the expiry of the Governor’s deadline given to Sharad Pawar’s NCP to prove its ability to form government.
This came after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari sent a report to the President on the political situation in Maharashtra.
Raj Bhavan Press Release 12.11.2019 3.16 PM pic.twitter.com/qmlQA6ghBR
— Governor of Maharashtra (@maha_governor) November 12, 2019
BJP sources claimed that the Governor’s move to recommend President’s Rule came because the NCP wrote to Koshiyari asking for more time to secure its numbers. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik refused to comment.
The imposition of President’s Rule in Maharashtra may not have any direct bearing on the consultation of the opposition parties over government formation. If the three parties reach an agreement, they can go to the Governor with the letters of support from the MLAs and stake claim. If these parties fail to reach a consensus, the BJP could re-open its talks with the Shiv Sena, which seems to have been left high and dry due to the Congress’ diffidence to join hands with its political and ideological adversary.
There are apprehensions in the opposition camp that the President’s Rule might open scope for defections and horse-trading.
The Shiv Sena also moved Supreme Court Tuesday against the Governor’s refusal to give it more time to prove its ability to form government.
Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi criticised the Maharashtra Governor for not giving enough time to the Shiv Sena.
Governor of Maharashtra cannot give 48 hours to #ShivaSena for #MaharashtraGovtFormation but BJP can avail 5 weeks in other states is an arbitrary use of power by the Governor. This is what happens when constitutional posts are used to further political motivations.
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) November 12, 2019
Late Monday, the NCP was invited by Koshiyari to form government after the Shiv Sena was unable to rack up the numbers and its request for a 48-hour extension was rejected. The Shiv Sena faltered as the Congress dithered on its support.
The NCP was given until 8.30pm Tuesday to show its numbers.
Tuesday began with a phone call between Pawar and interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, following which three senior Congress leaders left for Mumbai to hold consultations with NCP leadership to explore the possibility of forming the government in coalition with the Shiv Sena.
The three parties together have a comfortable majority with 154 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly.
“Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi spoke to Shri.Sharad Pawar today morning and deputed Shri.Ahamed Patel, Shri.Mallikarjun Kharge and myself for holding further discussions with Shri.Pawar,” Venugopal tweeted earlier in the day.
“We three are going to Mumbai now and will meet Shri.Pawar at the earliest.”