A day after a senior BJP leader said President’s rule would be imposed in Maharashtra if a new government was not formed by November 7, the Shiv Sena Saturday questioned whether the President of India was “in the pocket” of the ruling party.
In an editorial titled ‘Insult to Maharashtra, is President in your pocket?’ in its mouthpiece Saamana, Sena said the statement was “undemocratic and unconstitutional”, and asked whether it was a “threat” to newly-elected MLAs.
“What have the common people to make out of the threat? Is that supposed to mean that the President of India is in (BJP’s) pocket or that the seal of the President is lying in the office of the BJP in Maharashtra?” the Sena asked. “Are these people trying to convey that the BJP could impose the President’s rule in Maharashtra using that seal in the event of that party not able to form its government?”
“The statement shows the lack of knowledge about the Constitution and the rule of law. This threat might be a move to sidestep the established norms and get things done the way one wants. This statement is an insult to the mandate of the people,” it added.
The Sena also said that the BJP’s “attitude that only we will rule irrespective of numbers and no one else can attempt formation of the government was defeated in the recent elections”.
Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar on Friday said President’s rule would be imposed in the state if the new government was not formed by November 7. The tenure of the existing Legislative Assembly ends on November 8.
The two allies have been unable to strike a power-sharing deal since the results of the Assembly elections were declared. The BJP won 105 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, forcing it to rely on the Sena, which won 56 seats, for formation of the government.
“A new government will have to be in place within the stipulated time, or else the President will have to intervene… Else, like 2014, when BJP had won 122 seats, and was called to form the government, it can be called again by the Governor as it is the largest party,” Mungantiwar said.
Mungantiwar claimed the delay in talks between the BJP and Sena was due to Diwali, and that discussions would resume in a couple of days. He said the main hurdle in the power-sharing agreement was Sena’s demand for the chief minister’s post for 2.5 years.
“The Sena and BJP are natural partners. Everything will be resolved amicably… Both understand the ground reality… In any discussion, there is always give and take. Gradually, both will arrive at some meeting point,” he added.