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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

All eyes on Maharashtra governor as BJP-Shiv Sena tussle escalates

If Fadnavis is unable to put together the numbers — the BJP, which has 105 members needs another 40 for simple majority in the state assembly comprising 288 seats — all eyes will be on the governor to decide the political fate of the state of Maharshtra.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2019 05:55 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray(Hindustan Times)
         

Chief minister Fadnavis handed over his resignation to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Friday afternoon, who asked Fadnavis — the first CM in over three decades to complete a full five year term — to act as the caretaker chief minister till such time as the new government was formed.

However, saffron allies Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena have been in a deadlock over government formation ever since the Assembly poll results were declared a fortnight ago.

If Fadnavis is unable to put together the numbers — the BJP, which has 105 members needs another 40 for simple majority in the state assembly comprising 288 seats — all eyes will be on the governor to decide the political fate of the state of Maharshtra.

In the recent assembly elections, the Shiv Sena won 56 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party won 54 and the Congress won 44. There are 29 Independents and legislators from smaller parties. The BJP-Sena had a pre-poll alliance, but due to differences over power-sharing formula, the alliance partners have been unable to form the government. The two parties, whose combined strength is 161, are locked in a tussle over the CM’s post. While the Sena does not want to budge on its demand for the post, the BJP is not keen to give into this demand.

If the stalemate continues, the Governor may invite the BJP, the single largest party to form the government and prove majority on the floor of the assembly within a stipulated time. If BJP fails the floor test or expresses its inability to put together the required numbers, the governor will have two other options. One, to ask the second largest party, Shiv Sena if it has required number to form the government. In such as a case, the Sena may stake claim to form the government with the support from Congress and NCP. Together, the three parties have 154 seats.

The other option for the governor will be to declare President’s rule for six months. This will require to be vetted by the Parliament within two months, and can be extended for six months, if elections are not held.

All eyes are now on NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, who held hectic parleys with Maharashtra Congress leaders, after Fadnavis’s resignation.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray held a highly charged press conference on Friday where he alleged that BJP leaders, including party chief Amit Shah, were “lying” about the rotational chief minister formula.

“By this time, the governor should have called the single largest party to form government and completed the procedure. The governor must follow Supreme Court orders in various cases on the time given to the largest party to stake claim to form the government...the governor cannot give unreasonable time for the floor test as it could lead to the horse trading,” said constitutional expert Ulhas Bapat.

Former Advocate General Shreehari Aney said that the governor has discretionary powers to decide when to call the parties to form the government.

According to officials, the governor consulted legal experts and Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhkoni. The Raj Bhavan is expected to begin the process of forming the government by Saturday.