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President’s rule in Maharashtra: Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision criticised

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President’s rule was imposed in Maharashtra on Tuesday after President Ram Nath Kovind approved Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari‘s recommendation for it. Governor’s decision is being criticised by opposition parties. Koshyari had given time to the NCP till 8.30 pm today to prove that it has the numbers after the Shiv Sena on Monday failed to get letters of support from the political rivals before the deadline set by the Governor who rejected its plea for three more days to do so. The recommendation follows uncertainty over government formation in the state for 20 days after election results on October 24. After the BJP and the Shiv Sena failed to show enough numbers to form a government, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar to take a shot. The NCP was to give an answer by 8.30 pm on Tuesday, which is why the recommendation of President’s rule surprised many. The Shiv Sena went to Supreme Court on Tuesday after reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s cabinet has recommended President’s rule for Maharashtra.

Hours before the Union Cabinet recommended President’s rule in Maharashtra, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar blamed their ally Congress for the “delay” in deciding on whether to support the Shiv Sena in a non-BJP government in Maharashtra, his uncle Sharad Pawar too is upset with the Congress. The Congress held off on sending its leaders to Mumbai this morning, asking Sharad Pawar to come to Delhi instead and speak to its chief Sonia Gandhi. But the NCP chief declined, citing a meeting with his party MLAs, and the two then spoke on the phone.

Ahead of its meeting with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari last evening, the Shiv Sena did not have letter of support from the Congress. The NCP, which had agreed to support the Sena, was left holding on to its letter of support.

Ajit Pawar the NCP leader told Afternoon Voice, “It is very unfortunate that the Congress could not decide on its support to Shiv Sena, the delay has led to President’s rule. Our party NCP waited for letter from Congress yesterday. But we did not receive the letter by the evening. It was not right for us to give the letter. Whatever be the decision, there should be stability.”

“From morning 10 am till 7:30 pm on Monday, our leaders including Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel were waiting for their letter. Shiv Sena had to submit the letter till 7:30 pm. If Congress was not sending its letter of support, how could we give ours,” Ajit Pawar disclosed. The NCP held meetings on Tuesday too.

Whereas Congress said Sharad Pawar also asked for more time and discussions on power-sharing with the Sena, pointing to Sonia Gandhi that his party was “just two seats behind” the Sena.

Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde said “Congress was not late, rather we have been vigilant since beginning. We had asked NCP if they have sent a letter to Governor. Things will have to be done simultaneously; they are our partner. Whatever decision is taken, it’ll be done together but we were not given proper idea.”

The Governor last evening asked the NCP, which finished third in last month’s Maharashtra polls, to form the government after the BJP and the Sena failed to stake claim to power.

Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “The Governor is working under the pressure of BJP. According to the Supreme Court verdict the governor should try each and every possible way to form the government. And after going on all the available options if it is not possible then only they can recommend Article 356 of the constitution.”

The NCP has made it clear it will not take any decision without its ally Congress, as a Shiv Sena-led government cannot be stable without its support. The NCP has 54 MLAs in the 288-member assembly while the Congress has 44. After a day of discussions, the Congress said in a statement that it would hold further consultations with the NCP. The BJP, which emerged as the largest party in Maharashtra with 105 seats, declined to form the government after a breakdown of ties with the Shiv Sena over its demand for rotational chief ministership. The Shiv Sena, which has 56 MLAs, believes it can form a stable government with support from the NCP and Congress but at eleventh hour they were betrayed by both.

NCP leader and advocate Majeed Memon said, “It appears to be very unreasonable on the part of the honourable governor to have withdrawn the time given to us till 8: 30 pm. Although in the morning at 11 am the Raj Bhavan had sought extension for 48 hours. Far from granting the extension of 9 hours were cut down from the given time. “

He further added, “At 11 am it seems that an 18-page report recommending the President’s rule has been sent to the centre and the centre hastily approved the governor’s recommendation at 3 pm. This is kind of injustice to the party for which invitation was extended.”

By Akshay Redij

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