With the warring partners, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), failing to reach a power-sharing agreement in Maharashtra, Governor SC Jamir has started consulting legal experts on the steps that could to be taken in case the stalemate continued.
The two parties have strong differences over sharing of key portfolios, because of which the government has not been formed even though the Congress-NCP combine won 144 out of 288 seats in the October 13 Assembly polls.
Election results were declared 10 days ago. The Opposition Shiv Sena-BJP has demanded that the governor should impose President’s rule in the state by suspending the assembly. Raj Bhavan sources said Jamir has begun consulting legal experts.
Though there is no deadline for government formation, the uncertainty cannot go on.
“The governor might give a few days to the parties for government formation,” said Anant Kalse, principal secretary, Maharashtra Legislature. “But beyond this the governor will call the party with the highest votes to prove its majority.”
The Congress and NCP were expected to submit a letter to the governor claiming majority, following which the first session of the assembly would be called. Though the previous assembly’s term ends on Tuesday, there were no signs of an agreement between the allies.
“The 11th assembly will be getting dissolved on November 3. But the new, 12th assembly has come to force through a notification on October 25,” Kalse said. “So now unless a cabinet is formed there can be no session, and there is no deadline for that.
No headway was made on Monday as NCP leaders chose not to meet their Congress counterparts for talks.
The Congress wants NCP to surrender at least two of five key departments — home, finance, energy, rural development and tribal development. The NCP is not ready to part with home, finance and energy but it is prepared to exchange the remaining two for urban development and social justice.
State Congress chief Manikrao Thakre said, “We offered them (NCP leaders) options but there was no breakthrough.”
NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal said, “It’s fair enough if the Congress does not match our demands but we will ensure that our ally runs the government smoothly. We will support the Congress from outside.”