Maharashtra heading for President’s Rule as BJP-Sena negotiations come to a dead end

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MUMBAI: With the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally Shiva Sena failing to break the ice over the power sharing equation even 13 days after the announcement of the election results, Maharashtra appears to be heading for a President’s rule.

 

The prospects for the formation of an alliance government dimmed on the penultimate day of the expiry of the term of the Assembly with the BJP not staking any claim to form the government and the Sena shielding their MLAs from poaching by shifting them to a resort.

It is reliably learnt that the BJP delegation that met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday returned after discussing the political situation in the state. The party decision not to stake claim for forming the government is considered as an admission of its failure to stitch together a coalition government.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut accused the BJP of preparing the ground for getting President’s rule imposed in the state. Talking to reporters after a meeting of the MLAs at the residence of Sena chief Udhav Thackeray’s house, he said that the BJP move was against the mandate given to the alliance by the people.

"Looks like BJP is trying to impose President's rule in Maharashtra. This is against the mandate that the people have given us. If you can form the government then make it clear. Why did the BJP leaders who met the governor today not stake a claim? Why did they return empty-handed? They want to create a situation for the imposition of President's rule.” Raut was quoted by Firstpost as saying.

Earlier, he said that Sena had alternatives other than Mahayuti alliance if the BJP publically declared that it is unable to form the government. Raut said his party will “explore other options” after BJP state its position in the public.

Raut exuded confidence that his party will form a government, with or without the BJP. "We have the numbers to make our own chief minister, we don't need to show that here, we will show that on the floor of the house. We have alternatives, we don't speak without options and alternatives," Raut said.

Political observers see this as some sort of a hint of some assurance he has got from the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which together has 98 seats in the 288-member Assembly. The Sena, which has 56 seats and claim the support of about 10 Independent MLAs, can form a government if the two parties support a Sena government.

It is perhaps with this in the mind, Shiv Sena has kept the MLAs together in a hotel.  The Indian Express reports that all Shiv Sena MLAs have been asked to shift to Rang Sharada Hotel in Bandra (West) until further orders. Sena legislator Abdul Sattar said Uddhav Thackeray has asked all the MLAs to stay at the hotel for some time.

However, both Congress and NCP have publically ruled out any support to either the BJP or Shiv Sena to form the government. Senior leaders of both the parties have made it clear that their mandate in the October 21 election is to sit in the opposition and they will stick by it.

The government formation remained deadlocked since the declaration of results, with the two allies refusing to budge on their individual stands. While the Sena is demanding equal sharing of the post of chief minister and the ministerial portfolios, the BJP refused to share the chief ministership saying it is the single largest party with 105 seats.

With no end in sight to the tussle, a government of the Mahayuti alliance looks implausible at this juncture. The only viable option appears to be president’s rule as the term of the current Assembly is scheduled to expire on Friday, October 8.

Image Credit: Talent India 

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