President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday signed off on Cabinet’s recommendation to place Maharashtra under central rule after a fortnight-long political impasse in the state.
The recommendation of the cabinet at its hurriedly-convened meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed a report by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari that “the government of the state of Maharashtra cannot be carried on in accordance with the constitution”.
The Shiv Sena, which had teamed up with the Bharatiya Janata Party for last month’s assembly elections, walked out of the alliance after the BJP rejected demands that it share the chief minister’s position.
Governor Koshyari had last week given the BJP, which had emerged as the single largest party with 105 seats in the 288-member assembly, the first chance to stake claim to form the government. The BJP was given three days.
When the BJP declined to take up the offer, Raj Bhavan asked the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, the second largest party, if it would be willing and able to form the government. The Shiv Sena, which had already opened a back channel with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, was more than willing but slipped on the 24-hour deadline to produce evidence of support from its two potential allies. It did ask for more time to come back with letters of support but the request was firmly rejected.
Governor Koshyari quickly summoned the NCP next to check with Sharad Pawar’s party if it could form the government. It also was given a 24-hour deadline; the clock started ticking at 8.30 pm on Tuesday.
But a communication from Ajit Pawar, the NCP legislative party chief, to Raj Bhavan around triggered the governor’s adverse report. In this, the NCP sought more time to complete discussions for government formation.