Is the President in your pocket? Shiv Sena asks BJP

Is the President in your pocket? Shiv Sena asks BJP

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. (PTI Photo)

With no rapprochement insight, the Shiv Sena on Saturday lashed out at the BJP for one of its senior leader's suggestion that Maharashtra may be headed for President's rule. 

Senior BJP leader and state Finance, Planning and Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had said that of the government is not in place by 7 November, the state may head for President's rule. 

Mungantiwar had said, "A new government will have to be in place within the stipulated time, or else the President will have to intervene. President's rule will be imposed if the government formation doesn't happen in the given time."

Dubbing it as an intimidation tactic, an editorial in Sena's Marathi mouthpiece Saamana and its Hindi tabloid version, an editorial was titled - "Insult to Maharashtra, is President in your Pocket". 

"What the common people will make out of the threat by Mungantiwar?  Does it mean that President of India is in our (BJP's) pocket or that the seal of President is lying in the office of BJP in Maharashtra?" the strongly-worded editorial said.

Describing the comments as "undemocratic and unconstitutional",  it further said: "Are they trying to convey that the BJP could impose the President's rule in Maharashtra if it is not able to form government? ". 

The editorial said that the statement shows the lack of knowledge of Constitution and rule of law. "The threat might be a move to sidestep the established norms and get things done the way one wants.  The statement insults the mandate of people," it said.

The Sena, which is locked in a bitter battle with the BJP over sharing of power since the results of the assembly elections were declared on October 24, also dared its senior ally to stake claim to form the next government.

The tenure of the current Legislative Assembly ends on November 8.

In the October 21 assembly polls, the BJP failed to perform up to the mark though it emerged as the single largest party by winning 105 seats, 17 less than the 2014 tally, in the 288-member House. The ally Sena won 56 seats, 7 less than its 2014 performance.

The halfway mark in the Legislative Assembly is 145.

The Sena also said it should not be blamed for the present impasse over formation of the government.

"There is no morality left in public life," it said.

Interestingly, Sharad Pawar-led NCP too on Friday criticised Mungantiwar's statement as a "kind of threat."

Meanwhile, BJP came to the defence of Mungantiwar and said that there was nothing wrong in what he said.

"What Mungantiwar said was the Constitutional process. It is a process in democracy...if the government is not formed in time, President's rule comes in force," senior BJP leader Ram Kadam said.

The Sena's fresh attack on the BJP on Saturday is likely to further strain the soured relations between both the parties.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has been demanding the CM's post for 2.5 years and 50:50 division of portfolios, as the BJP's tally took a beating in the polls.

Both these demands have been rejected by the BJP which has insisted that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will continue to hold the post for the next five years.

Thackeray had reportedly said that other options (read NCP and Congress) are available for his party.

However, the Sharad Pawar-led NCP, which won 54 seats in the polls, had said that it would sit in the Opposition.

The Congress, which has 44 MLAs, seems to have adopted a wait-and-watch policy.

Top Congress leaders from Maharashtra on Friday held meetings in Delhi and discussed the situation with party president Sonia Gandhi.


(With inputs from PTI)