A DAY after BJP leader and Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar claimed that President’s Rule would be imposed on Maharashtra if the government was not formed by November 7, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday said the statement is an insult to Maharashtra and the people who have given a mandate, and asked whether the President was in BJP’s pocket.
Raut said that this was not the first time that there has been a delay in government formation in states, including in those ruled by BJP. “President is the constitutional head of the country. Is this a threat to the MLAs who have been elected? And, President’s Rule is being used as a last resort,” he told mediapersons on Saturday, while adding that the President is in nobody’s pocket.
On his recent meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, he said, “The kind of situation that is existing in Maharashtra, all parties are talking to each other, except Shiv Sena and BJP.”
Sena’s party mouthpiece Saamana also attacked Mungantiwar for his remarks in the editorial titled ‘Maharashtra’s insult, is President in your pocket?’ and likened it to Mughal diktat.
“Since threats and misuse of investigating agencies did not have any impact, outgoing finance minister Sudhir Munganitwar has given a new threat saying ‘President’s rule would be imposed in Maharashtra if a new government is not formed by November 7’. It shows what kind of poison is in the minds of him and his party,” said the editorial.
It added that the statement shows either the lack of knowledge about the law and the Constitution or aims to get things done the way “they want by sidestepping the law or Constitution”.
“Does it mean that President is in your control or a stamp with his signature is lying in the BJP office and can be used to impose President’s Rule if BJP is not able to form the government? The threat of President’s Rule given by Mungantiwar is undemocratic and unconstitutional,” the editorial said.
Mungantiwar countered the tirade saying he was only talking about constitutional provisions in case government is not formed within the stipulated period. “I am forest minister. If the tiger (Sena’s mascot) is growling unnecessarily, we know how to preserve and conserve them well. We will take the tiger along,” he told mediapersons in Chandrapur.
He also indicated that a BJP-Sena government will be formed before November 10. “There is no problem. Sena and BJP will decide on a government by November 5 or 6. It should be in place before November 10,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, Raut again stressed that his party’s demand for the chief minister’s post was valid. The executive editor of Saamana, he told a news channel: “Government has to be formed as per what was agreed on (between the BJP and Shiv Sena before the polls) and not on the basis of which is the single largest party.”
“Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had resolved to make a Shiv Sainik (a Sena member) chief minister, and the time for that has come now… Shiv Sena has moved beyond portfolios in the state and at the central level, or additional Legislative Council berths (as bargaining chips). We are talking about the chief minister’s post,” he added.
Earlier in the day, he told mediapersons that it was the BJP’s right to form government since it is the single largest party. “If it fails to get majority, Shiv Sena will prove its majority,” he said. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was hurt after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis denied “what had been already agreed on” between the two allies, Raut added.
He also welcomed Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Hussain Dalwai’s missive to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, urging her to extend support to Sena. But Raut was quick to add that Sena had fought the elections in alliance with the BJP, and it would stick to the “coalition dharma” till the end.
WITH PTI INPUTS