New Delhi: ,The Congress on Tuesday cried foul and saw the devious hand of the Modi government in coaxing Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to recommend President's rule in the state. Significantly, the announcement came conveniently just before PM Modi flew to Brazil for the BRICS summit.
All eyes are now on a petition moved by the Shiv Sena in the Supreme Court against the imposition of President's rule, after the governor refused it time, despite it saying "yes" to government formation.
Congress spokesman and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi charged that the governor had acted mechanically after getting a hint from New Delhi and he feared that the Centre may block the removal of President's rule even if the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP come together.
He said the ruling BJP clearly wanted to buy time and, therefore, the governor went through a mechanical drill before sending a report to Delhi.
He said there was a vast difference between the BJP telling him it is not in a position to form the government and the Shiv Sena seeking 48 hours to sew up a coalition that can provide a stable government.
He said even more shocking was the governor giving time to the NCP till 8.30 PM on Tuesday and sending the recommendation of President's rule without waiting for its response.
The Shiv Sena has moved the Supreme Court and engaged senior advocate and Congress MP Kapil Sibal who will press for an urgent hearing on Wednesday, when the court opens after a 4-day recess.Sibal regretted that the governor acted at the instance of the Centre.
There was no good reason why he did not act after the results on October 24 threw up a truncated Assembly; rather, he waited till November 9 and showed partiality in giving the BJP 48 hours, but just 24 hours to others.He feared that Karnataka events will be replayed in Maharashtra with the BJP resorting to horse trading.
Result: President's rule will not be lifted even if opposition parties sew up a coalition.Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday evening, even as her team was holding talks with NCP supremo Sharad Pawar in Mumbai.
In an official reaction, Congress chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted that "Governor Koshyari has committed a grave travesty of democracy & made a mockery of the Constitutional process in recommending President's rule in Maharashtra.
"He cited four grave violations of the Constitutional scheme as expressed in the S R Bommai judgment of the Apex Court. "In absence of any single party having majority in Maharashtra, the Governor should have called: (1)
The single largest pre-poll alliance i.e. the BJP-Shiv Sena (instead of calling the BJP and the Shiv Sena separately); and then (2) the second largest pre-poll alliance of the Congress-NCP.
"Surjewala said since the Governor chose to call individual parties, why did he not call INC (Indian National Congress)? And, above all, "why the completely arbitrary allotment of time? 48 hours to BJP, 24 hrs to Sena & not even 24 hours to NCP before imposing President's rule."
"This is unashamedly dishonest & politically motivated," he added.Other Congress leaders said the Home Ministry under BJP President Amit Shah will even go to the extent of dissolving the new Assembly, now kept under suspended animation, to prevent an opposition government from taking shape, so as to force fresh elections and use both muscle and money power to win a clear majority.