WITH GOVERNOR Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Sunday asking the Shiv Sena, the second largest party in the Assembly, to “indicate willingness ability” to form the government, what Sena does next will decide if there will be an end to the prevailing uncertainty in the state.
Constitutional expert Ulhas Bapat said with the largest party, the BJP with 105 MLAs, conveying its inability to form the government, the Governor was left with no other option than to approach the second largest party, which has 56 MLAs. “The Sena will have to submit a list containing the names and signatures of MLAs supporting it. But this is not mandatory… it is at the discretion of the Governor. The Sena can convey to the Governor that it has the numbers to prove majority on the floor of the House. The Governor can then install its chief minister and later ask it to prove majority,” Bapat added.
He further said 20 years ago, then President K R Narayanan had set a precedent by inviting the largest group to form the government.
“Narayanan had not invited the single largest party to form the government. Instead, he had asked a group of parties to prove majority in Parliament,” he said, adding that Narayanan gave weightage to stability of the government.
This means, a combination of parties can also be invited by the Governor to form the government in case the Sena says it does not have the numbers. “The Congress-NCP, which is the largest group, can stake claim but for this, they will have to submit a letter of support from the Sena if it intends to take support from the party. Again this is not the rule…,” Bapat said.
Yet another option is that all three parties, Congress, NCP and Sena, together submit a letter, staking claim for forming the government.
On the installation of a chief minister, Bapat said the Constitution merely states that “chief minister will be appointed by the Governor”. “There is nothing else mentioned,” he added.
Bapat said if all the major parties — BJP, Sena, Congress and NCP — convey their inability to form the government, the Governor can recommend the President’s Rule in the state. “This can be done by conveying to the President that constitutional machinery in the state has failed.”
He added that President’s Rule can be extended to one year. “For this, a certificate from the Election Commission of India is required, stating that it cannot hold elections in the state,” he said.
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