Here's why Maharashtra Governor didn't invite Congress to stake claim

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari felt that it was nearly impossible for Congress to form the government unless the party adopts illegal and unconstitutional means to gather the numbers

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Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on November 12 recommended the imposition of President’s rule in the state after three parties – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) – failed to form the government in the state. 

Firstly, Governor Koshyari invited the single largest party in Maharashtra with 105 seats to stake claim for forming the government. After the BJP refused the offer citing fewer numbers, the Governor invited Shiv Sena. 

Although, Sena claimed stakes to form the government in Maharashtra but failed to prove the numbers in the given deadline which gave NCP a chance. 

However, NCP asked for three more days from the Governor to form the government stating that they can’t form the government and need time for discussion with allies. After which, the Governor suggested the President’s rule in Maharashtra and didn’t invite Congress – fourth party in line with 44 seats – to form the government. 

In his report submitted to President Ram Nath Kovind, Governor Koshyari recommended the suspension of Maharashtra assembly while warning against “illegal means being adopted to gain support.” 

Governor felt that it was nearly impossible for Congress to form the government unless the party adopts illegal and unconstitutional means to gather the numbers. 

In the report, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has mentioned that he didn’t want to see the “misadventure” of a floor test. The report was tabled in Rajya Sabha on November 20 during the ongoing winter session of Parliament. 

The misadventure of having a floor test will invite the possibilities of horse-trading, corruption and other illegal means to prove majority by the concerned persons,” the Governor’s report stated. 

The Governor also mentioned that the possibility of shifting of leaders from one political party to another can’t be overlooked. Earlier, before the assembly elections in Maharashtra, the top leaders from Congress and NCP shifted their loyalties to Shiv Sena and BJP. 

In the assembly election results, the people mandate to form the government was given to the BJP and Shiv Sena alliance. However, both the saffron parties headed for a tussle over the Chief Minister post which led to Shiv Sena’s withdrawal from the alliance. 

The BJP, the single largest party in Maharashtra, won 105 seats out of 288 assembly election while Shiv Sena won 56 seats followed by NCP’s 54 and Congress’ 44. 

The term for the Devendra Fadnavis government ended on November 9. The report mentions that even after the 13 days of declaration of assembly poll results, none of the political parties even “ventured” to make claim for forming the government. 

On November 9, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari asked the BJP if it was able and willing to form the government and was given till 8:00 PM of November 11 to stake claim. However, it failed to do so. 

On the other hand, Shiv Sena was asked to stake claim on November 11 and was given till 7:30 PM of next day to form the government. 

Later, Shiv Sena went to Supreme Court stating that they were not given sufficient time by the Maharashtra Governor to form a government. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had said that it was difficult for them to bring signature of the required number of MLAs (including allies) in a single day. 

However, in his report, the Governor has mentioned that even the BJP’s request for an additional day was turned down. 

Governor explained his reason to not invite Congress to stake claim for constituting the government saying that it was rather impossible for Congress to get the magic number (145) to prove majority. 

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