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‘No Government, Only Presedential rule’ in Maharashtra

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Manisha Chate, MUMBAI:  Maharashtra was placed under President’s Rule on Tuesday after a report from state Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to the centre that none of the three parties(Shiv Sena, BJP, NCP) he had invited since Saturday could produce enough numbers to stake claim to power even 20 days after the October 24 state election results.

Mr. Singh sent the report after the NCP spoke to him at 11 am, hours before its 8.30 pm deadline, and asked for more time. However, Opposition parties criticized the move, accusing the governor of doing the BJP’s bidding without exhausting all his constitutional options. President’s Rule didn’t stop allies Congress and NCP from holding discussions on whether to support the Shiv Sena to form the government.

‘No Government, Only Presidential rule’ in Maharashtra

  1. “Yesterday, Shiv Sena formally asked for support for the first time. First, we allies will discuss amongst ourselves, then have discussions with the Shiv Sena,” said senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, addressing the media jointly with NCP chief Sharad Pawar. “Unless we discuss how the government can run smoothly, it won’t be easy to form an alliance,” said NCP Chief Sharad Pawar.
  2. The Shiv Sena’s attempts to form a government with sworn rivals NCP and Congress reached a dead-end yesterday despite a call from the party’s president Sonia Gandhi giving hope to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. The Congress took a step back reportedly after a call between Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar.
  3. The Congress says it was Sharad Pawar who wanted more time. Sources say Mr. Pawar told Sonia Gandhi yesterday in a phone call that there was a need to discuss the contours of support to the Sena. “NCP is just two seats short of Sena,” Mr. Pawar reportedly pointed out, indicating a rethink on whether the Sena should have a full term for its chief minister.
  4. At the last minute, when the Shiv Sena was to meet the Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari with letters of support, the Congress said it had taken no decision and would hold discussions with Sharad Pawar. “From 10 am to 7:30 pm on Monday, our leaders including Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel were waiting for (Congress’s) letter,” said NCP’s Ajit Pawar, the NCP chief’s nephew.
  5. After this, Shiv Sena petitioned the Supreme Court complaining that the Governor had refused to grant it extra-time even though the BJP was given two days to prove its numbers. Senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal is representing the Sena, say sources. At a news briefing, Mr. Thackeray said the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress may have different ideologies but they “will find a way to work together in Maharashtra“.
  6. Later, Congress President Sonia Gandhi sent her top party leaders to Mumbai for discussions on government formation after speaking to Sharad Pawar on the phone again this morning. The Congress and NCP leaders held a meeting in the evening, saying they would continue their efforts to form a government and approach the Governor as soon as there was a pact.
  7. Though Congress MLAs in Maharashtra favour forming a government with the Shiv Sena, the party top leadership, especially Sonia Gandhi, is extremely wary of a tie-up with an ideologically different party, one that it directly fought in Mumbai and many other places in Maharashtra in the polls. The Congress is also concerned that Shiv Sena’s divorce with the BJP, its partner of nearly 30 years, may not be permanent.
  8. The Shiv Sena yesterday pulled out its only minister in NDA’s government at the centre to signal its exit from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Sena’s separation from the BJP was the NCP’s prerequisite for talks between the Maharashtra rivals for a non-BJP alliance.
  9. The BJP opted out of the race for power on Sunday, accusing the Sena of “betraying the people’s mandate”. The BJP won 105 seats in the Maharashtra polls and the Sena 56, which placed them comfortably ahead of the majority mark of 145 in the 288-member assembly. But the allies fell out over Sena’s demand for rotational chief ministership in a “50:50” deal it said was discussed with BJP chief Amit Shah.
  10. With the NCP’s 54 MLA’s and the Congress’s 44, the Sena could have 154 MLAs on its side. Congress MLAs remain at a resort in Rajasthan’s Jaipur as the leadership wants to avoid a repeat of Goa, where its members crossed over to the BJP.

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