New Delhi / ‘Against people’s mandate’: Plea in SC to stop Sena, NCP alliance in Maha

Hindustan Times : Nov 22, 2019, 05:48 PM
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday to stop the post-poll alliance between the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress from forming the government in Maharashtra.

The petition by a voter from the western state’s Dindoshi constituency argued that these three parties are trying to defeat the electoral mandate by entering into a post-poll alliance.

Surendra Indrabahadur Singh said they fought against each other in the assembly elections and by joining hands after the results to form the government, they are trying to defeat the people’s mandate.

Four major political parties in the state formed two pre-poll alliances and fought against each other in the elections to Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in October this year.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena formed Maha Yuti while Nationalist Congress Party and Congress formed the Maha Aghadi.

The petitioner has said that due to the pre-poll alliance, voters voted either for the BJP or Sena candidate believing that they are voting for the Mahayuti. Similarly, those supporting the NCP and Congress cast their franchise in favour of the Maha Aghadi.

When the results were declared, the BJP-Sena alliance got a clear majority with 161 seats, he said.

The BJP and Sena fell out over the chief minister’s position and equal distribution of portfolios, ending a three-decade-old alliance. Governor BS Koshyari then invited the Sena and NCP, respectively, but no party could prove a majority within the prescribed deadline.

Maharashtra was placed under President’s Rule on November 12 after the governor told the Centre that no party was in a position to form the government in the state.

The petitioner said Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena is now trading with the NCP and Congress to stake claim to form the government in Maharashtra, which amounts to a fraud on the voters who voted for the Sena believing that it is in alliance with the BJP.

The petitioner has argued that Maharashtra’s governor is under constitutional obligation to consider the concept of “popular government”. The present post-poll coalition is based on the power-sharing concept of two political parties, who have been voted out by the people, he said.

The petitioner evoked the Punchhi Commission report which said that a pre-poll alliance has to be treated as a single party and invited to form the government in case of a hung assembly.

Hence, the governor’s invitation to the Shiv Sena and NCP to form a government is against the recommendations of the Punchhi commission.

He also cited the judgment of the Supreme Court’s seven-judge bench in SR Bommai vs Union of India case. The judgment said the governor has to invite the leader of the party commanding majority in the House or the single largest party or group to form the government.

However, there is a lack of clarity regarding the expression “political party or group of parties” as stated in the judgment. Whether that expression includes a group of parties that contested against each other has not been settled yet, the petitioner said.

The petitioner has requested the court to step in and fill the current legislative and constitutional vacuum in the state. He has also sought that the governor should be restrained from inviting Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress to form the government.