The inevitable finally happened in Maharashtra, as President's Rule was imposed in the state on Tuesday evening after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in a report to the Centre stated that the formation of a stable government was impossible in the current situation despite all his efforts.
Things appear to have turned full circle in a matter of two days with the BJP, which had said on Sunday that it cannot form the government as it does not have the numbers, now saying that the party will ensure that the people's mandate is respected and that it will try to form a stable government.
Earlier in the day, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi considered the report of the Governor to the President that was submitted at noon. The Cabinet recommended that the President issue a Proclamation under Article 356(1) of the Constitution imposing President's Rule in Maharashtra and keep the state Legislative Assembly under suspended animation.
"President Ram Nath Kovind has signed the proclamation," an official said.
In his report, the governor said that a situation has arisen in the state "in which it is impossible to constitute and/or form a stable Government in the state", officials said.
Congress, NCP remain non-committal
The Congress and NCP said at a joint press conference Tuesday that they had not taken any decision about supporting the Shiv Sena to form government in Maharashtra yet, but will hold further discussions.
NCP president Sharad Pawar said the two parties will discuss and evolve a consensus on what should be the policies and programmes if the Shiv Sena was to be supported.
"We (Congress and NCP leaders) discussed the nitty-gritty of a (possible) common minimum programme to ensure the government functions smoothly," he said.
Policies and programmes of the government will have to be finalised before making a claim to form the government, Pawar added.
The Congress' Ahmed Patel said that the Shiv Sena, which had contested the Maharashtra Assembly election in alliance with the BJP, approached the Congress-NCP formally only on Monday, seeking support. No final decision can be taken about supporting the Sena without first formulating the common minimum programme, Patel added.
He also condemned the imposition of President's Rule in Maharashtra, saying his party was not given the chance to stake claim to form the government.
Shiv Sena takes dig at governor
While the Congress and NCP adopted a diplomatic tone while laying out their future strategy, the Shiv Sena made a few snarky comments directed at Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said at a press conference, "The Maharashtra governor had given us a letter (asking the Sena to show a willingness to form the government) even before the deadline allotted to the BJP got over. We then asked the Governor for additional time, which he denied... Now it seems, the governor has given us ample time of six months to decide on government formation."
To a question on whether the option to form a government with the BJP was "completely finished", Thackeray said, "Why are you in such a hurry? It's politics. Six months have been given (under President's Rule). I didn't finish the BJP option, it was BJP itself which did that."
Thackeray said, "I officially spoke to the Congress-NCP only on Monday (11 November), seeking support for government formation. We will work out a formula for the same," he told reporters after meeting Sena's MLA-elects at a suburban resort. He said the Sena needs a clarity on the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) just like the Congress and the NCP if a government is to be formed with their support.
Earlier in the day, the Shiv Sena moved the Supreme Court against Koshyari's decision to refuse an extension of time sought by it for submitting the "requisite letter of support" to prove its claim to form the government. Shiv Sena leader said senior lawyer Kapil Sibal will represent the party in the Supreme Court.
Didn't expect President's Rule: BJP
BJP leader Sudhir Mugantiwar spoke to the media after the party's core committee meeting and said that the situation of President's Rule in the state was "definitely not expected".
He said, "President's Rule is definitely something we did not expect. We will certainly try to ensure that people's mandate is respected. We will try to form a stable government. We will stand by the people of the state."
BJP leader Narayan Rane also addressed the media and said that he would do "whatever" is necessary to ensure his party forms a government in the state.
"I will do whatever it takes to form a new BJP government, but I will not discuss (modalities) how," Rane told reporters. He said the Shiv Sena had been "unsuccessful" in forming the government, and went on to claim, "I don't think the Shiv Sena will go with the Congress-NCP alliance".
However, Mungantiwar, when asked about Rane's statement, said, "This is Rane's personal opinion. There was no discussion held on this issue in the BJP core committee meeting."
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Nov 12, 2019 23:13:58 IST