Maharashtra is now under President's rule almost three weeks after the poll results for the 288-member Maharashtra assembly were announced on October 23. President Ram Nath Kovind signed a proclamation on Tuesday imposing President's Rule in Maharashtra under Article 356(1) with the state assembly kept in suspended animation.
The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday said the President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra with assembly in suspended animation after political parties failed to form government even 20 days after the results of the assembly polls were declared last month.
Turn of events
In the 288-member Assembly, the BJP emerged as the single largest party, winning 105 seats in the elections when results were declared on October 24. Its alliance partner Shiv Sena won 56 seats, while the opposition parties, mainly the NCP and Congress won 54 and 48 seats, respectively.
The BJP-Shiv Sena combine was in a comfortable position to form the government. But the Shiv Sena, with 56 members, insisted on rotating the position of chief minister and refused to join the BJP in government formation.
After failing to muster Sena's support, the BJP on Sunday announced it would not form the government in Maharashtra.
The Shiv Sena has since been trying to form government on its own with the help of the Congress and the NCP, which had won 44 and 54 seats, respectively.
Koshyari invited the BJP first to form the government on Saturday, but after the saffron party said it was not in a position to show the numbers, the Governor invited Shiv Sena and gave it a deadline of 24 hours to form the government. The Shiv Sena could not present support of adequate number of MLAs during this time period.
Subsequently, Koshyari invited the NCP to form the government in the state on Monday evening, giving it time till 8 pm on Tuesday to demonstrate its support. However, before the expiry of the deadline, the President's rule was imposed.
President's rule under Article 356
As per Article 356(1): "If the President, on receipt of report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the President may by Proclamation
(a) assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Government of the State and all or any of the powers vested in or exercisable by the Governor or any body or authority in the State other than the Legislature of the State;
(b) declare that the powers of the Legislature of the State shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament;...."
What happens next?
The President's Rule can be revoked before the six-month period if a situation emerges for formation of a stable government.
Noted constitutional expert and former Secretary General of Lok Sabha Subhash Kashyap said: "After the imposition of President's rule, there are two scenarios: the President can dissolve the Legislative Assembly and call for early elections or he can keep it under suspended animation, which will allow political parties to approach the Governor to form the government," he told news agency IANS.
Kashyap said the Governor's priority is to form the government in the state.
The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday said the President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra with assembly in suspended animation.