President's Rule was today imposed in Maharashtra today after the Governor of Maharashtra, Bhagat Singh Koshyari filed a report recommending the same, even before the deadline provided to the third political party (the NCP) could run out.
"...having been satisfied that as the government of the State of Maharashtra cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution, has today submitted a report as contemplated by the provisions of Art 356 of the Constitution," read a press release from the Raj Bhavan.
Now, President Kovind has given assent to the same.
Many however have raised the question of how there have been discrepancies in time. 18 days after the poll results came out, the BJP became the first party to be invited to form the Government (having won 105 seats). They were given 48 hours to prove their majority. When the party indicated that it was unable to do so, the baton was passed onto the Shiv Sena, which had the second-highest number of seats.
The Shiv Sena incidentally received 24 hours to prove their majority. They were given until 7:30 pm yesterday to form the government and requested an extension that was denied by the Governor. However, while the extension was denied, Governor Koshyari accepted the party's willingness to form the Government.
Later the same day, the Governor invited the third-ranked party, the NCP, to form the Government. The NCP's allotted time (another 24-hour period) has not yet run out. However, the Governor has gone ahead with his recommendation for President's Rule.
This could incidentally be a violation of Article 14 (The state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws) and Article 21 (No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law) of the Indian Constitution.
It must also be mentioned that the Shiv Sena is in talks with the NCP and the Congress to form the Government -- which should perhaps be taken into consideration by the Governor.
Unequal timings aside, another question that has been raised is the basis in which these parties had been called. The Governor had ignored pre-poll alliances while summoning the parties. Thus each party was singled out and invited to form the Government. by that logic, it seems strange that the Congress did not even make it to its turn before the suggestion for President's rule was put forth.
Leaders from the Sena, NCP, and Congress have criticised the move, with many calling it 'illegal' and 'politically motivated'.
In the meantime, the NCP, going by technicalities, has till 8:30 pm today to declare its majority. Presumably to this end, the NCP and Congress leaders are now cloistered in a meeting.