President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday placed Maharashtra under central rule, acting on the recommendation of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
The two parties with most seats – the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena – have failed in their efforts to form a government. The Shiv Sena has moved the Supreme Court, challenging the governor’s decision to not give it more time to fetch the support of the required number of legislators. The party’s plea will be mentioned in the court on Wednesday morning.
Sharad Pawar-led NCP has only 54 MLAs in the 288-seat House, while its ally Congress has 44. It needs help from the 56 MLAs of the Shiv Sena, which was earlier in alliance with the BJP but has had a fallout over power-sharing since last month’s elections.
Here is how all the drama unfolded:
9.02 pm: BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar says the party did not expect President’s Rule to be imposed in the state. “We will certainly try to ensure that people’s mandate is respected,” ANI quotes him as saying. “We will try to form a stable government. We will stand by the people of the state.”
8.30 pm: Narayan Rane tells reporters that the Congress and the NCP are trying to “make a fool out of the Shiv Sena”, according to ANI.
8.29 pm: In a press release, Devendra Fadnavis says imposition of President’s Rule is unfortunate but adds that the party expects Maharashtra will soon get a stable government.
8.26 pm: BJP leader Narayan Rane says the BJP will try to form the government, days after it told the governor it does not have the numbers to prove majority. “Devendra Fadnavis is putting in all efforts in this direction,” ANI quotes Rane as saying.
8.23 pm: Uddhav Thackeray refuses to rule out getting back with the BJP in the future. “Why are you in such a hurry?” the Shiv Sena president asks reporters. “It is politics. Six months time has been given [President’s Rule]. I didn’t finish the BJP option, it was BJP itself which did that...”
8.21 pm: Asked about criticism from the BJP about the Shiv Sena joining hands with political rivals, Uddhav Thackeray points out that the saffron party had formed a government in Jammu and Kashmir with the Peoples Democratic Party.
“The BJP’s Chandrakant Patil wished us well and told us to go with the NCP-Congress, so we have with their wishes,” News18 quotes the Sena president as saying. “So what’s their problem now? Yes Hindutva brought us together, Lord Ram is about keeping promises.”
8.16 pm: The Shiv Sena president confirms his party contacted the Congress and the NCP about government formation for the first time on Monday, reports PTI. Thackeray says his party will find a way to work together with the Congress and the NCP even though their ideologies are different.
8.15 pm: Uddhav Thackeray says his party now has to go with the Congress and the NCP after being with the BJP for years. “We will hold further talks with both of them,” ANI quotes him as saying. “I would like to thank Arvind Sawant, many people have lust for ministerial post but he isn’t like that. Proud of him.” Sawant quit his Union Cabinet post on Monday.
8.10 pm: An unidentified Shiv Sena legislator tells The Hindu that if both the BJP and the Congress-NCP combine reach out to the Shiv Sena, the saffron party will be the first preference. “Uddhav ji told us to stay calm and keep patience,” he MLA adds.
8.07 pm: Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray tells reporters that the governor did not give his party even 48 hours to prove its majority.
8.04 pm: The BJP is reportedly in touch with the Shiv Sena. Uddhav Thackeray has told his party’s MLAs that “we are still willing to consider their offer” if the saffron party agrees to the Sena’s demand for sharing power equally, reports News18.
8 pm: Ahmed Patel has also condemned the government’s decision to impose President’s Rule, reports ANI. “This government has violated Supreme Court guidelines on President’s Rule on several occasions in in the last five years,” the Congress leader tells reporters.
7.58 pm: Ahmed Patel lashes out at Bhagat Singh Koshyari. “The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena, and the Nationalist Congress Party got invitation from the governor to prove majority,” ANI quotes him as saying. “But Congress did not get an invitation . We condemn it.”
7.55 pm: NCP President Sharad Pawar says neither his party nor the Congress is in a hurry to form government in the state. “We will hold discussions with Congress and then take a decision [to support Shiv Sena],” he tells reporters in Mumbai after a meeting with Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and KC Venugopal.
7.08 pm: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh claims that the decision to impose President’s Rule “has been taken under pressure from the prime minister and the home minister”, according to ANI.
7.05 pm: The Supreme Court will not hear the Shiv Sena’s petition tonight as it is not possible to constitute a Bench at the moment, reports Bar and Bench. The court registry has asked the party to mention the matter at 10.30 am tomorrow. The Sena, meanwhile, is readying a second petition to challenge the imposition of President Rule. It is likely to be filed tomorrow.
7.01 pm: Senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, who will represent the Shiv Sena in the Supreme Court, accuses governors such as Bhagat Singh Koshyari of working on behalf of the Centre.
“As far as the governor is concerned, in any state, he is working on behalf of the Centre,” News18 quotes Sibal as saying. “This issue should not have come to this stage. When you want BJP government, you can wait, but when it is any other party, you can’t. What will people think and what will happen to the law?”
6.56 pm: There is a defect in the plea filed by the Shiv Sena, reports PTI. The judicial branch of the the Supreme Court registry is reportedly working with the advocate-on-record, who filed the petition, to cure the defect. The decision to place the petition before Ranjan Gogoi will be taken after the flaw is addressed.
6.51 pm: The Supreme Court registry has not yet decided if a petition filed by the Shiv Sena against Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari should be placed in Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s court, reports PTI. The party has sought an urgent hearing tonight.
6.11 pm: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy says President’s Rule will make no difference to the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress “if they produce the list of MLAs”.
5.54 pm: Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, his son and MLA Aditya Thackeray and other leaders are reportedly on their way to Hotel Retreat Malad to meet party MLAs, reports The Indian Express.
5.49 pm: Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal are at the YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar, reports ANI.
5.39 pm: The Ministry of Home Affairs has confirmed reports about President’s Rule being imposed in Maharashtra, reports The Hindu.
5.33 pm: Maharashtra has been placed under President’s Rule after Ram Nath Kovind approves Union Cabinet recommendation, reports NDTV.
5.29 pm: The state BJP unit’s core group will meet at Devendra Fadnavis’s home at 6 pm, reports News18.
5.27 pm: The Shiv Sena has not received a response from the top court’s registrar about its request for an urgent hearing today of the plea it has already submitted, PTI quotes the party’s lawyer, Sunil Fernandes, as saying.
5.15 pm: A lawyer of the Shiv Sena has said the party will file a second petition in the Supreme Court challenging President’s Rule if it is imposed in the state, reports PTI. The notification is reportedly awaiting President Ram Nath Kovind’s signature.
5.12 pm: The Congress has accused Koshyari of committing “grave travesty” and mocking the constitutional process, reports News18.
5.06 pm: The Congress criticises Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, accusing him of hurriedly sending his report recommending President’s Rule. “I condemn this action, which has been taken in a hurry without exhausting all options,” PTI quotes state Congress leader Sachin Sawant as saying. “This raises questions about the governor’s impartiality. This also raises doubt whether the governor is acting under pressure.”
4.58 pm: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has sent the file recommending President’s Rule to Ram Nath Kovind’s office for his signature, reports The Hindu. The president is bound by the advice of the council of ministers.
4.53 pm: Senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal have arrived in Mumbai to meet Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, reports ANI.
4.49 pm: The governor’s decision to reject the Shiv Sena’s request for three days to form the government is part of the “well-concerted plan of the BJP to invoke Article 356”, the Shiv Sena has told the top court, according to Bar and Bench. The party has said any imposition of President’s Rule will result in horse-trading by BJP and allow the saffron party to “somehow cobble up majority by using unconstitutional means”.
4.47 pm: In its petition, the Shiv Sena has argued that Koshyari is duty-bound to give political parties reasonable time to conclude talks about government formation. A governor should not act as the Centre’s mouthpiece, the party added, according to Bar and Bench.
4.45 pm: Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal will represent the Shiv Sena in the Supreme Court, reports Bar and Bench.
4.41 pm: Ajit Pawar has told reporters that the party waited for the Congress’s letter of support for the Shiv Sena-led government “from morning 10 am till 7.30 pm”, according to NDTV. “They [Shiv Sena] had to submit the letter till 7.30 pm,” the NCP leader is quoted as saying. “If Congress was not sending its letter of support, how could we give ours.”
4.39 pm: NCP leader Ajit Pawar has said the Congress delayed its decision on whether to support a Shiv Sena-led government, reports NDTV. head of its meeting with Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Monday evening, the Shiv Sena did not have letters of support from the Congress. As a result, the NCP also did not submit its letter.
4.20 pm: The Shiv Sena in its petition alleges that the Maharashtra governor’s decision to not give it extra time was “unconstitutional, unreasonable and mala fide”, PTI reports.
3.38 pm: Advocate Sunil Fernandes is representing the Shiv Sena in the Supreme Court, reports ANI.
3.28 pm: Shiv Sena seeks hearing in the case today. “Governor wrongfully declined to give 3 days,” says the party, according to News18. The Supreme Court is yet to inform Sena lawyers about listing the case.
2.55 pm: Malik says the Nationalist Congress Party believes that it is not possible to form an alternative government without the coming together of the Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena, reports ANI.
2.53 pm: Nawab Malik says senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and KC Venugopal are coming to Mumbai and will meet Sharad Pawar at 5 pm. “Decision will be taken after their discussion,” he adds.
2.47 pm: Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik says all 54 MLAs who attended today’s meeting decided to empower Sharad Pawar to take a decision on alternative government. “A committee will be formed for the same which will be led by Sharad Pawar,” he tells ANI.
2.41 pm: NCP core committee meeting underway, according to News18.
2.40 pm: Cabinet approves President rule in Maharashtra, reports News18.
2.39 pm: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan says the Congress did not delay in deciding to support the Shiv Sena. “The Shiv Sena was an NDA ally and there was no question we could support it,” he tells PTI. “Its lone minister Arvind Sawant quit the Modi Cabinet yesterday. It is not true that the Congress delayed the decision.”
2.35 pm: Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde says his party is not late, reports ANI. “We had asked them [NCP] if they’ve sent a letter [to governor], he adds. “Things will have to be done simultaneously, they’re our partner. Whatever decision is taken, it’ll be done together.”
2.03 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls a Cabinet meeting, reports ANI.
2.01 pm: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has recommended imposition of President’s rule in the state.
1.58 pm: The Shiv Sena may move the Supreme Court against Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for rejecting its request to give it more time to prove its majority, reports Hindustan Times quoting unidentified officials. Koshyari on Monday evening invited Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party.
1.56 pm: Aam Aadmi Party’s state leader Preeti Sharma Menon says the Congress leadership always puts the party before the nation, reports Hindustan Times. She claims that the Congress are giving Maharashtra “on a platter” to the BJP as the party delays to decides on supporting the Shiv Sena.
12.50 pm: Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi speaks to Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, reports PTI. She authorises three senior party leaders to hold further talks on the government formation in Maharashtra. Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and KC Venugopal will leave for Mumbai later in the day.
12.24 pm: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge says talks with the Nationalist Congress Party are on. “NCP and Congress had pre-poll alliance, and final decision will be a collective decision,” he tells ANI. “Our talks with NCP are on, and we will only move forward once discussions with them are done.”
12.18 pm: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray visits party leader Sanjay Raut at Lilawati hospital.
12.16 pm: Maharashtra Congress leaders will meet Sharad Pawar at 2 pm, reports News18.
11.30 am: The Congress did not give its letter of support at the insistence of Sharad Pawar who asked the party to wait for one more day, claims Congress leader, according to The Indian Express. Thakre says Pawar had said that the two parties should first discuss the details of the alliance between themselves and then hold talks with Shiv Sena.
11.18 am: Senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Mallikarjun Kharge have deferred their visit to Mumbai to discuss modalities of support to the Shiv Sena. “The Maharashtra Congress leaders will discuss the broad contours of government formation with their NCP counterparts on Tuesday before inviting the Shiv Sena for talks,” Manikrao Thakare tells PTI.
11.14 am: Unidentified Congress members tell News18 that party wants the chief minister to be from the Nationalist Congress Party supported by the Shiv Sena.
11.12 am: The Nationalist Congress Party will meet soon, reports The Indian Express.
10.58 am: Sharad Pawar denies there is a meeting between Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party today, reports ANI. “Who says there is a meeting?” he asks. “I don’t know.”
10.56 am: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar meets Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut at Lilawati hospital.
10.18 am: Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar says he will speak to the Congress leadership, reports ANI.
10.17 am: In a tweet earlier in the day, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “A boat does not cross if it fears the waves, those who try never lose. We will triumph, indeed.”
10.16 am: Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam says Congress has no moral responsibility to form the government in Maharashtra. “It’s the failure of BJP and Shiv Sena which has brought the state on the doorstep of President rule,” he tweets.
10.13 am: Congress leader Kagda Chandya Padvi says he is hopeful of a positive result. “Personally I think the three [Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP] parties will form the government and a Shiv Sena leader will be the chief minister,” he tells ANI.
10.08 am: Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar says his party cannot alone decide and is waiting for the Congress’ response. “There is no misunderstanding, we contested together and are together,” he tells ANI.
9.50 am: President Ram Nath Kovind accepts the resignation of Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant from the Union Cabinet, PTI reports. Union minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar gets additional charge of the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, which Sawant headed.
9 am: Senior leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party will meet in Mumbai on Tuesday morning to discuss the political situation, The Indian Express reports. “We will have a discussion with [Shiv Sena chief] Uddhav Thackeray before we go to the Governor…We had been given a mandate to sit in Opposition, but we also have a responsibility of giving a stable government to the state at this time,” party leader Ajit Pawar has said.
8.45 am: Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar said last night that his party and the Congress will have a meeting on Tuesday to decide about the alliance with the Shiv Sena, ANI reported.
8.41 am: The Congress core group will meet again at interim party chief Sonia Gandhi’s residence in New Delhi on Tuesday, ANI has reported.
8.37 am: The Shiv Sena was unable to garner support letters from the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party on Monday, due to which Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari asked the Nationalist Congress Party to come forward to form the government, ANI reported. The party has been given time until 8.30 pm on Tuesday to come up with the numbers.
8.30 am: The Nationalist Congress Party leaders who met the governor were Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal and others. They have to submit letters of support from Congress and Shiv Sena by 8.30 pm.
8.22 am: BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Monday evening that the Bharatiya Janata Party is following a “wait and watch” policy on the unfolding political situation in Maharashtra.