President’s rule imposed in Maharashtra; Congress cries foul, Sena moves SC

Governor Koshyari said he was convinced that governance couldn’t be carried out as per Constitution and hence his decision; Congress calls it ‘mockery of Constitutional process’; Sena moves SC

The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has been put in suspended animation.
The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has been put in suspended animation.


President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra on Tuesday evening as the Governor denied Shiv Sena and NCP 48 hours time sought by them. The Union Cabinet had earlier in the day recommended President's rule in the state after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari submitted a report in this regard, officials said.

President Ram Nath Kovind has signed a proclamation imposing President's rule in Maharashtra, they said adding the Assembly will remain in suspended animation.

The Congress hit out at the Governor for recommending President's rule in the state, alleging that he has committed a "grave travesty" and made a "mockery" of the Constitutional process.

The Shiv Sena has knocked on the Supreme Court’s door against the Governor’s decision, saying that the party must be given a chance to prove its majority on the floor of the house as it is the only legitimate forum to decide on a party’s majority, and not the Raj Bhavan.

In his report, the Governor said a situation has arisen that a stable government is not possible even after 15 days of election results being declared, according to officials.

He said that all efforts have been made to form a government but he saw no probability that a stable government could be formed.

The Governor said that he is convinced that governance of the state cannot be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and he is left with no alternative and is constrained to send a report on the provision of Article 356, the officials said.

Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also questioned the Maharashtra Governor for the "arbitrary" allotment of time to the NCP, Shiv Sena and the BJP to prove support for government formation.

"Governor Koshyari has committed a grave travesty of democracy and made a mockery of the Constitutional process in recommending President's Rule in Maharashtra," he said.

Surjewala alleged that four grave violations of the Constitutional scheme, as expressed in the S R Bommai judgment, stand out.

"In absence of any single party having majority in Maharashtra, Governor should have called; 1. Single largest pre-poll alliance, thatis, BJP-Shiv Sena together; 2. Second largest post poll alliance, that is, Congress-NCP;" he said in a series of tweets.

"In case Governor called individual parties, why did he not call INC. And above all why the completely arbitrary allotment of time? 48 hours to BJP, 24 hours to Sena and not even 24 hours to NCP, before the Presidents Rule," he said.

This is unashamedly dishonest and politically motivated, Surjewala alleged.

The Shiv Sena moved the Supreme Court challenging the Maharashtra governor's decision of not granting it the three days to submit the letter of support for government formation in the state.

The Shiv Sena has sought a direction from the apex court to quash the Governor's Monday decision not giving it the opportunity to prove majority on the floor of the House.

In a petition, filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes, the party claimed it was invited to form government on Monday and had indicated willingness to do so on Tuesday.

The Governor's decision is unconstitutional, discriminatory, unreasonable, capricious and mala fide, the party said in the plea, adding that "the governor can't act in a manner to only suit the majority political party" at the Centre or act on the Central government's "diktats".

"The petitioners are constrained to move the writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution seeking urgent reliefs against the arbitrary and mala fide actions of the Maharashtra Governor who in hot haste has on November 11 refused to grant even three days time to the petitioner to demonstrate that it has the requisite majority to form government in the state," according to the plea.

In the petition, the Sena contended that the Governor's decision was violative of articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

In the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, the BJP emerged as the single largest party but fell short of the majority of 145 by 40 seats.

The Shiv Sena, which was a BJP ally, garnered 56 seats. While the NCP had 54 seats and Congress had 44.

In the petition, the Shiv Sena has made the union Ministry of Home Affairs, the Maharashtra Government and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP as respondents.

“It is submitted that the factum of majority cannot be decided by the governor in his own ipse dixit and the floor of the House is the only ‘constitutionally ordained forum' to the test majority,” it said.

The petition said as per constitutional conventions and practices, the Governor is duty-bound to allow reasonable time for political parties to conclude their negotiation on government formation and not act as an "agent or mouthpiece of the Central government".

Meanwhile, top leaders from the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena held a flurry of consultations in a bid to tot up the numbers and resolve the impasse over government formation.

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Published: 12 Nov 2019, 6:41 PM