Mumbai: After giving NCP 24 hours to respond to his invitation last night, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari sent a report to Home Ministry on Tuesday afternoon.
In the report, he said, "The Governor of Maharashtra Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari having been satisfied the government of the state of Maharashtra cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution, has today a submitted a report as contemplated by the provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution".
This means that Koshyari has recommended President’s Rule rule in Maharashtra.
Interestingly this move comes even as Koshyari has given 24 hours’ time to 'convey willingness and ability to form government' to Nationalist Congress party (NCP).
Sources said the Union cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, met in Delhi this afternoon to discuss the political impasse in Maharashtra and decided to recommend to the president to impose Central rule in the state.
The fast sequence of events has led many to raise questions over the Governor’s actions, which they say were aimed at paving the way for BJP’s ‘hidden agenda’ of getting President’s Rule imposed in the state after failing to muster up majority to form a government.
It may be recalled that the Maharashtra Assembly elections results were out and after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis submitted his resignation, the Maharashtra Governor gave him charge as caretaker. Later, to start process of government formation, the Governor, Bhagatsingh Koshyari, called Fadnavis to check his 'willingness and ability' to form a government.
This invitation by Koshyari to Fadnavis was given on a Saturday evening and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is falling short of majority with 105 seats in the 288-memebr House, was given 48 hours -- till Monday evening -- to convey their decision. But, by Sunday evening itself, BJP conveyed to the Governor that they don't have the numbers and it was not possible for them to form the government. Immediately, the Governor moved for BJP ally Shiv Sena (with 56 seats) and asked the party whether it was willing to form the government. This happened on Sunday itself.
On Monday evening, Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray and Eknath Shinde met Koshyari. They requested him to give them 48 hours more. They told him that they were ready to form government but as MLAs of other parties were out of Mumbai, matters were getting delayed.
This was a fact. The Congress (44 seats) took a decision to support a Sena-led government on Monday evening but it held back the letter of support before a common minimum programme was drafted as well as sharing of ministerial berths was discussed. Also, Congress MLAs are camped in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
But Koshyari surprisingly refused to give Sena more time and immediately, i.e., on Monday night itself called Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar. Now, Koshyari has given 24 hours to Pawar to convey his position.
This speed of events is not just questionable but also fits in with BJP’s attempt to bring the state under President’s Rule. In his ‘selective’ haste, is the Governor creating more hurdles in government formation in Maharashtra? Newsclick looks into the reactions of some keen political observers in the state.
"The Governor is there to see that a government comes to power. He is not there to create hurdles for making of government. This time it looks like the Governor is doing exactly opposite of what he is supposed to do. It looks like he is making things fast to bring the state under President rule," said senior journalist Pratap Asabe.
Senior lawyer and constitutional expert, Asim Sarode, tweeted; "According to Article 172 of Constitution there is no time limit for governor. Shiv Sena has asked for rightful time and it should be given that time to form the government. Governor should take positive approach and see that government forms in state. Has anyone conveyed governor to push state in President Rule?"
Senior journalist Nikhil Wagle exposed the politics behind the Governor's ‘questionable’ hurriedness. "It is obvious that Maharashtra Governor Koshyari is partial towards BJP. He gave BJP 72 hours to prove claim and asked SS-NCP to prove it in just 24 hours. After all, you can’t expect fairness from a governor appointed by Modi," Wagle tweeted.
Political scientist Suhas Palashikar is also surprised to see the 'speed of the process'. "I think governor should strike a balance and see that everyone gets good time to make efforts. 24 hours is certainly not enough time to put it acts together. No party can do that. Governor must give enough time to everyone," said Pakshikar.
It may be recalled that Bhagat Singh Koshyari was a BJP leader before becoming governor of Maharashtra. He was also BJP’s chief minister in Uttarakhand. His current acts are, therefore, seen as helping none other than the BJP.
Two weeks ago, BJP leader Sudheer Mungantiwar had publicly said that the delay in formation of government could bring state under President’s Rule. His statement was slammed by leaders of Shiv Sena, NCP as well as Congress, who termed this as BJP's “hidden agenda”. The current situation of uncertainty is in a way helping BJP keep the pot boiling.
Remember, that during Karnataka government formation, the Governor had given ample time to BJP leader Yeddiyurappa to form a government and prove his majority. The similar help of various governors has been seen by country in different states for last five years. The Maharashtra episode is nothing but another act of a Governor's ‘questionable’ decision-making in the wake of the likelihood of an anti-BJP government being formed.