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Thursday, 7 November 2019

Maharashtra Govt Formation Updates: Governor Koshyari wants to discuss legal repercussions of crossing Assembly's deadline, claims report

17:38 (IST)

Opposition takes digs at BJP-Shiv Sena amid tussle

The Congress on Thursday questioned the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance's "moral right" to form government in Maharashtra if the Sena apprehends poaching of its MLAs by its senior ally. The Nationalist Congress Party, the other prominent Opposition party, claimed that MLAs were being approached with inducements for switching camps.

Taking a dig at the BJP, Congress's national spokesperson Sanjay Jha said resorts in tourist spots near Mumbai such as Khandala and Matheran may soon get booked (for shifting MLAs there to guard them from poaching attempts). "But given the money they have, the BJP should also consider Maldives, Bahamas, Bermuda and Pattaya," he quipped.

Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil claimed, without naming any party, that some MLAs were being offered inducements to cross over. "Some MLAs are being lured now. But in case anyone defects (to the BJP), other parties will come together and defeat him/her (in bypoll)," Patil told reporters.

17:22 (IST)

Mandate is for Shiv Sena chief minister: Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday made a series of comments that added no extra information (other than what we already know) on the current stalemate over government formation in Maharashtra. The allies — BJP-Sena — have been at an impasse over power-sharing equation in the state since the Assembly election results were announced on 24 October. However, with the deadline to dissolve the currently Assembly being two days away, the tussle between the two saffron parties has now entered the 14th day.

Raut, reiterating the party's demand for the chief minister's post to be rotated after two and a half years, said, "When you say the mandate is for 'Mahayuti' (the saffron alliance), the mandate is also for what was agreed upon when the alliance was formalised. The mandate is for having a Shiv Sena chief minister."

17:02 (IST)

'Pran jaye par vachan na jaye': Shiv Sena believes in 'given word', says Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday also said that there is no change in the Shiv Sena's stand on government formation and all the party's legislators support Uddhav Thackeray. Raut criticised state minister and BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar for saying that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis​ is "like a Shiv Sainik".

"If you think you are from the Shiv Sena, behave like one. For the Shiv Sena, the given word is very important. For us it is like 'pran jaaye par vachan na jaaye' (promise has greater value than life)," he said.

16:50 (IST)

Shiv Sena MLAs authorise Uddhav Thackeray to make final decision in meeting

The Shiv Sena MLAs on Thursday authorised party chief Uddhav Thackeray to take a "final decision" on government formation in Maharashtra. 

Thackeray chaired a meeting of all party MLAs at his residence Matoshree in Bandra, where the legislators also reiterated that the formula of "equal sharing of posts and responsibilities" agreed upon before the Lok Sabha polls should be implemented.

"The Sena MLAs passed a resolution authorising Uddhavji to take a final decision regarding government formation," party legislator Shambhuraje Desai told reporters after the meeting ended.

Read the entire report here

16:39 (IST)

Maharashtra governor summons Advocate General: Report

The stalemate over the power equation in Maharashtra continues as the deadline of the current Assembly draws closer. Amid Shiv Sena and BJP unwilling to budge regarding their individual demands, The Indian Express reported that Maharashtra governor​ Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday summoned Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to discuss the legal repercussions if there is no government in the state after 8 November.

The current Assembly is set to expire on 9 November. 

16:31 (IST)

Sanjay Raut downplays Shiv Sena decision to shift MLAs to hotel

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut also dismissed the speculation around the party's decision to shift their MLAs to a hotel next to party chief Uddhav Thackeray's residence in Bandra. Reportedly, he said, "Not all legislators have homes in Mumbai. So, the party has decided to ensure they get facilities under one roof."

After Thackeray chaired a meeting of the Sena MLAs at his residence, all the legislators were shifted to Rangsharda Hotel in Bandra, amid the political uncertainty and fear of cross over.

16:10 (IST)

President's Rule would go against people's mandate: Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday, reiterating the party's demand for the post of the chief minister in Maharashtra, said, "The Constitution belongs to the people. The Constitution is not their inheritance, if they (BJP) go down that road then they need to know that we can also use the Constitution. I am sure that we will have our chief minister in Maharashtra."

A deadlock has prevailed in the state since the declaration of results of the Assembly election in October, with the two allies refusing to budge on their individual demands regarding the power-sharing equation in the state government. However, the current Assembly expires on Friday, after which President's Rule will be imposed if the impasse is not resolved.

On this, Raut said, "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. The BJP does not have the numbers"

15:48 (IST)

Don't link RSS chief to Maharashtra govt formation, says Nitin Gadkari

 
Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat should not be linked to the government formation moves in Maharashtra.
 
He also said a decision will soon be taken on government formation in the state, and since the BJP won more number of seats than the Sena, the chief minister will be from his party.
 
Speaking to reporters, the Lok Sabha member from Nagpur also ruled out his return to his home state to assume the top job.
 
"Devendra Fadnavis will head the new government,"​ Gadkari said.
 
To another query, he said, "RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat or the Sangh have no relation with all this. It won't be appropriate to link the RSS chief to the goings on (over government formation)."
 
PTI

15:45 (IST)

Sena has alternatives other than Mahayuti, Sanjay Raut drops hint in press conference 

Sanjay Raut asked the BJP to publically declare that it is unable to form government, adding that Sena will "explore other options" after that. Raut also 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.

15:41 (IST)

Shiv Sena never lies, doesn't backstab: Sanjay Raut on BJP's claim that Fadnavis too a Sainik

Sanjay Raut said, "Shiv Sainiks never lies and keeps their word. Shiv Sainiks never backstab anyone for power or other things. If you are considering yourself as Shiv Sainik, then they need to understand the sanskar of Shiv Sainik, said Raut on BJP minister Sudhir Mungantiwar's statement that Devendra Fadnavis is Shiv Sainik and he will be the Sena chief minister. 

15:31 (IST)

Give CM post to Sena or forget talks: Sanjay Raut talks tough on power sharing deal

"We will hold discussions with BJP provided they agree to what was decided during the Lok Sabha polls. They can call me up if they decide to give us Chief Minister’s post for 2.5 years, otherwise don’t call me up," The Indian Express quoted Uddhav Thackeray, as saying. Shiv Sena is adamant on getting the CM post, however, the party said it will not break alliance with the BJP.  

15:26 (IST)

No Talks between Mohan Bhagwat and Uddhav Thackeray

 

There have been no talks yet between RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on government formation in Maharashtra, Sanjay Raut said. Raut said legislators of his party and the opposition Congress and NCP "would not cross sides".

15:21 (IST)

Shiv Sena adamant on demand for CM's post, says won't break alliance with BJP

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, in a press conference, reiterated that the party has not changed its stance and it remains firm on its position that the chief minister should be from Sena. Raut also said that the state should get a government soon, but failed to offer any clarity as to how that would be possible, given the fact that the top two parties continue to squabble over CM's post. 

15:13 (IST)

Congress takes a dig at Shiv Sena-BJP as allies squabble for CM post

Congress leader Sachin Sawant has taken potshots at Shiv Sena and BJP for the standoff over government formation. Referring to Sena's decision to shift MLAs to a Mumbai hotel, Sawant questioned whether the alliance had any moral right to govern the people  when they were mistrustful of each other. 

14:59 (IST)

Shiv Sena refutes reports claiming MLAs being shifted to Bandra hotel

Shiv Sena has reportedly booked rooms at a five-star hotel in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex amid reports that a faction could break away to support its ally BJP. However, party leader Sanjay Raut has rubbished such reports saying, "Our MLAs are committed to the party and do not need sequestering to keep them from defecting. No party will break in Maharashtra."

"No one can dare to come near Shiv Sena MLAs. Our MLAs are firm in their resolve and committed to the party. Those who are spreading such rumours should worry about their MLAs first," Raut added.

14:51 (IST)

RSS functionaries in huddle in Delhi

Top Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh functionaries met on Thursday at the Maharashtra Bhawan in New Delhi amid the Maharashtra stalemate, where the Shiv Sen-BJP alliance is unable to form a government despite a majority. The two parties are engaged in petty fight for chief ministers' post despite contesting and winning the elections together. 

Meanwhile, RSS leaders, who were also said to have met Union minister Nitin Gadkari, have distanced the Sangh from political logjam in Maharashtra. 

14:40 (IST)

BJP MLAs meet Maharashtra governor 

BJP MLAs on Thursday met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari amid a stalemate over government formation in the state. 

14:38 (IST)

BJP's Chandrakant Patil says confident of forming Mahayuti govt in state

State BJP president, Chandrakant Patil said, "People of Maharashtra have given mandate to 'Mahayuti' (alliance). There is delay in government formation. Today, we met the Governor to discuss the legal options and political situation in the state."

14:30 (IST)

Still no clarity on Maha govt formation

A fortnight after the announcement of Assembly poll results, the prospects of a new government being formed in Maharashtra remain as elusive as ever. The BJP, which won 105 seats, and the Shiv Sena, which bagged 56 seats, are locked in a bitter tussle over sharing of the chief minister's post and ministerial portfolios in the new government, even 13 days after the Assembly poll verdict handed them enough seats to stitch together a coalition government.

They won 161 seats together in the 288-member House, well above the halfway mark of 145; however, the stalemate continues as neither party got absolute majority and both are claiming the chief minister's post. 

Today, BJP leaders are meeting the governor while Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also held a meeting of party legislators at his residence, Matoshree to decide on the party's stand regarding government formation. Congress and NCP meanwhile, have snubbed Sena's flirtation

14:28 (IST)

Shiv Sena MLAs to move to Bandra hotel, say reports

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. 

 
 

Maharashtra Govt Formation Latest Updates: The stalemate over the power equation in Maharashtra continues as the deadline of the current Assembly draws closer. Amid Shiv Sena and BJP unwilling to budge regarding their individual demands, The Indian Express reported that Maharashtra governor​ Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday summoned Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to discuss the legal repercussions if there is no government in the state after 8 November.

The current Assembly is set to expire on 9 November.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday, reiterating the party's demand for the post of the chief minister in Maharashtra, said, "The Constitution belongs to the people. The Constitution is not their inheritance, if they (BJP) go down that road then they need to know that we can also use the Constitution. I am sure that we will have our chief minister in Maharashtra."

A deadlock has prevailed in the state since the declaration of results of the Assembly election in October, with the two allies refusing to budge on their individual demands regarding the power-sharing equation in the state government. However, the current Assembly expires on Friday, after which President's Rule will be imposed if the impasse is not resolved.

On this, Raut said, "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."

"We will hold discussions with BJP provided they agree to what was decided during the Lok Sabha polls. They can call me up if they decide to give us Chief Minister’s post for 2.5 years, otherwise don’t call me up," The Indian Express quoted Uddhav Thackeray, as saying. Shiv Sena is adamant on getting the CM post, however, the party said it will not break alliance with the BJP.

Shiv Sena has reportedly booked rooms at a five-star hotel in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex amid reports that a faction could break away to support its ally BJP. However, party leader Sanjay Raut has rubbished such reports saying, "Our MLAs are committed to the party and do not need sequestering to keep them from defecting. No party will break in Maharashtra."

 

A fortnight after the announcement of Assembly poll results, the prospects of a new government being formed in Maharashtra remain as elusive as ever. The BJP, which won 105 seats, and the Shiv Sena, which bagged 56 seats, are locked in a bitter tussle over sharing of the chief minister's post and ministerial portfolios in the new government, even 13 days after the Assembly poll verdict handed them enough seats to stitch together a coalition government.

They won 161 seats together in the 288-member House, well above the halfway mark of 145; however, the stalemate continues as neither party got absolute majority and both are claiming the chief minister's post.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Today, BJP leaders are slated to meet the governor while Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is set to meet party legislators at his residence, Matoshree to decide on the party's stand regarding government formation. Congress and NCP meanwhile, have snubbed Sena's flirtation. Sharad Pawar clarified on Wednesday that he was not interested in propping up a Sena-led government by upsetting the pre-poll coalition arrangements, when it clearly got the mandate to sit in Opposition.

Unconfirmed reports had suggested that the Sena, which has been bargaining hard for chief minister's post with BJP, had sent feelers to the Opposition camp to see if they are willing to accommodate its demand. This came after the Congress had announced unconditional support to the Janata Dal (Secular) just to keep the BJP out of power, even relenting the chief minister's post to the junior alliance partner.

However, reports claimed that Sonia Gandhi firmly put her foot down on the issue, clarifying that Sena's ideological position would never allow for an alliance between Maha-agadhi partners and the Maratha party.

Besides, the Opposition NCP won 54 seats while the Congress got 44 seats; in order to prop up a government excluding the BJP, Sena, Congress and NCP would have had to come together to form a government.

The tenure of the present Assembly ends in two days and the Constitution warrants the imposition of President's Rule if no coalition/party comes to stake claim for government formation in case of a hung Assembly. The Constitution does not state any provision for an extension of term of the current Assembly. Hence, Maharashtra will see one of the following scenarios play out.

Option 1: A BJP-Sena government

This is the most simplistic and morally appropriate choice left before the political parties in Maharashtra, as notwithstanding the post-election bickering, the Mahayuti was the alliance that got voted to power. It is still widely believed that the cat-and-mouse game between the two alliance partners is a hollow attempt at one-upmanship and Shiv Sena will eventually settle for an agreement with the BJP in a give-and-take pact for power-sharing. This gains currency from reports about Shiv Sena approaching the RSS and demanding Union minister Nitin Gadkari as an interlocutor.

Sources from both parties say a special three-day session of the House may be convened next week to swear in the new MLAs.

A resolution to the BJP-Shiv Sena stalemate over government formation is expected and a new dispensation may take office before the term of the outgoing Assembly ends, sources said. Sources from both parties said back-channel talks are on between the two old but often-feuding Hindutva allies and a breakthrough is expected.

"We expect a breakthrough. If all goes well we can have a government by 9 November," a source, who did not wish to be identified, told PTI.

However, it was not clear as to what will be the concession offered by the BJP to the Sena if the Uddhav Thackeray-led party decides to bury the hatchet. A senior BJP functionary asserted the party will not compromise on the post of chief minister.

But Sena as of now appears unlikely to yield. At the time of writing, Sena leader Sanjay Raut for the umpteenth time reasserted that the chief minister will be from his party. Claiming that the BJP had agreed to a "50-50" formula on power sharing in the state, the Sena has demanded that the top seat should be shared between the two. Meanwhile, PTI quotes BJP sources as saying the party will not compromise on the post of chief minister, which brings us to our second option.

Option 2: Minority government for the time being

It is possible for the governor to use the power entrusted to him and invite a person, who he feels is the most likely to command the confidence of the House. In this case, the leader of the single largest party, who was also the past chief minister with the support of his current ally, may be invited by the governor. However, he must prove his majority within a span set by the governor on the floor of the House.

According to a website that documents Constitutional conventions and Supreme Court judgments, in a letter dated 17 May, 1967 to three former Chief Justices of India, Justices Mahajan, Sarkar and Gajendragadkar and eminent constitutional experts like MC Setalvad and HM Seervai, the then home minister YB Chavan mentioned three views on the appointment of the chief minister and sought their legal opinion on it.

The three views were: (i) The leader of the largest party in the legislature should be invited to form the government irrespective of whether or not such a party commands a stable majority. (ii) If the party in power failed to secure an absolute majority in the newly- elected legislature, the leader of that party should not be invited to form the Government  because the electoral verdict should be regarded as, in effect, disqualifying the party from holding office for another term. (iii) The governor should make endeavour to appoint a person who is most likely to command a majority in the legislature.

There was complete agreement on the third point.

Option 3: President's Rule

Under Article 356 of the Constitution of India, in the event that a state government is unable to function according to constitutional provisions, the Central government can take direct control of the state machinery.

Based on the report of the Sarkaria Commission on Centre–State relations(1988), the Supreme Court in SR Bommai versus Union of India case (1994) enlisted the situations where the President's Rule can be imposed on a federal state under Article 356. Amid other conditions laid down, the first three pointers deal with the scenarios where a majority government is absent in state.

  • When after general elections to the Assembly, no party secures a majority, that is, Hung Assembly
  • When the party/ coalition having a majority in the Assembly declines to form a ministry and the governor cannot find a coalition/ party commanding a majority in the Assembly.
  • When a ministry resigns after its defeat in the Assembly and no other party is willing or able to form a ministry commanding a majority in the Assembly.

Arguably, any of the three pointers aren't unimaginable in the Maharashtra scenario, if the pre-poll alliance between Shiv Sena and BJP fails to take shape despite negotiations.

Option 4: Sena, NCP and Congress combine comes to power

This is highly unlikely (and virtually impossible), given the fact that Pawar has shown no inclination to support Sena so far. However, purely dealing with a mathematical possibility, it is possible for Sena (now 60 after the support of Independents), NCP (54) and Congress (44) to cobble up a coalition government. The most likely power-sharing agreement could be under a Sena chief minister and a council of ministers including MLAs from all three parties. However, such an alliance will be unsteady because of obvious ideological clashes between the hardline Sena and secular Congress and NCP.

With inputs from PTI



November 07, 2019 at 05:58PM

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