Maharashtra Governor had denied Congress opportunity to stake claim to form government

Maharashtra Governor had denied Congress opportunity to stake claim to form government
Mumbai Congress leaders during a meeting with Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan in Mumbai, Tuesday. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari denied the Congress with 44 legislators an opportunity to stake claim to form government because he felt it was almost impossible for the party, unless, of course, "illegal and unconstitutional means are adopted".

In a report to the President recommending the central rule, Koshyari said he didn't want to see the 'misadventure' of a floor test. He took decision on November 12 to prevent possibilities of horse-trading and corruption to garner support by parties.

"Moreover, I am alive to the fact that in case of such a misadventure of having a floor test there are eminent possibilities of horse-trading, corruption and other illegal means being adopted by concerned persons to garner support, which in my view must be ruled out under any circumstances and at any cost.

"In this regard, the developments on the eve of the aforesaid election of shifting prominent political leaders from one party to another can't simply be overlooked," the Governor's report stated.

Koshyari said he had seen poaching of leaders before elections in Maharashtra where a number of the Congress and the NCP leaders moved to the BJP and the Shiv Sena and vice versa. "These all can't be simply overlooked," he said in the report.

The BJP with 105 MLAs, the Sena (56) and the NCP (54) could not form the government. Then the Congress was approached and before their time ended, the Governor sent his recommendations for the President rule.

The floor test was "neither feasible nor practical and would largely be an academic exercise as the ground situation revealed," he said.

The 13-page report also says the Governor rejected Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's request for additional one day to respond to the letter, asking him to inform in two days whether the BJP was willing to form a government.

"The NCP has clearly stated they will not able be and are willing to make a claim for forming the government by November 12. The party had requested three more days for consultations."

On the Congress, the report said it had just 44 MLAs and it was 'crystal clear' it could never form a majority government.

"It's needless to mention here that the difference between 65 and 145 (the majority mark) is too large and too vast, which is almost impossible to bridge unless, of course, illegal and unconstitutional means are adopted as also recourse is taken to unethical, unlawful and therefore forbidden methods," it said.

He also stated that the Congress through a press statement had said it was neither staking claim nor supporting any party.

The report states all attempts to explore formation of a government had unfortunately and gradually failed even after the lapse of 17 days.

The Governor claimed, no party made a claim much less a stable government by demonstrating even prima facie that they enjoyed the support of at least 145 members.

The Congress-NCP alliance on Wednesday gave its most categorical indication about joining hands with arch rival Shiv Sena, with former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan expressing confidence of forming a "stable" government soon in the state after a marathon meeting of senior leaders of the two parties here.

While the Congress leader hoped that political uncertainty will soon end in Maharashtra, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik was unambiguous about the need to join hands with the Sena, asserting that a government cannot be formed in the state without the three parties coming together.

This is the most emphatic public statement by the Congress-NCP combine about their intent to join hands with the Sena to form a government.

A senior NCP leader said a government is likely to be formed before the first phase of the Jharkhand polls scheduled on November 30.

The state was plunged into a political crisis after the Sena broke its three-decade-long ties with the BJP after its partner refused to accede to its demand of sharing the chief minister's post.

The BJP and Sena, which fought the October 21 assembly polls in alliance, had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member assembly. The Congress and the NCP, pre-poll allies, won 44 and 54 seats, respectively.

The Sena then began talks with the Congress-NCP alliance.

(With IANS and PTI inputs)

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