President Ram Nath Kovind has signed the proclamation imposing President’s rule in Maharashtra. The Union Cabinet has recommended the President rule on the report of the Governor invoking Article 356 of the constitution in the state. Article 356, commonly known as President’s rule, deals with ‘failure of constitutional machinery in the state’. The present-day Maharashtra came into existence on 1st may, 1960 and this is the 3rd time the state has come under the central rule.
President’s Rule in Maharashtra
The 2019 Maharashtra Legislative Assembly election was held on 21 October 2019 to elect all 288 members of the state’s Legislative Assembly. As a result, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won an absolute majority in the Maharashtra assembly polls. As per the Election Commission, BJP secured 105 seats, Shiv Sena (56) seats, Congress (44) seats, and the Nationalist Congress Party (54) seats respectively. Devendra Fadnavis (BJP) from Nagpur South West, Aditya Thackeray (Shiv Sena) from Worli, Ashok Chavan (INC) from Bhokar, Prithviraj Chavan (INC) from Karad South were some of the key candidates who won the elections.
A Tussle over Chief Minister’s Post:
The pre-poll alliance of the BJP and the Shiv Sena jointly won 161 seats in the 288 member house. The number was way above the limit of 145 seats required to prove the majority mark. But, later on, during the negotiations part, the Chief Minister’s Post created the scuffle between the 2 leading parties and this intense power tussle differentiated the saffron partners and resulted in the delay in the formation of the government.
Last week, Maharashtra’s governor B S Koshyari stated the inability of the BJP party to form a government due to lack of required number of seats. Later the second most successful party, i.e. Shiv Sena failed in submitting the required letters of support from other political parties to prove the required majority.
As a result, the Governor’s office stated that the government cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution, and submitted a report as contemplated by the provision of Article 356 of the Constitution. Following the above, the Union Cabinet also recommended the President rule on the report of the Governor invoking Article 356 of the constitution in the state.
Overview of Article 356:
Article 356, commonly known as President’s rule is applied where ‘constitutional machinery has failed’. This implies that, whenever the state government is unable to function in accordance with the constitution, the state will come under the president rule i.e. under the direct control of the central government or the Government of India. In the above situation, the central government exercises executive authority through the Governor who is appointed by the Government of India. This is in contrast to the regular functioning and working of the state where the governor is only a nominal head of the state government and the real executive power resides with the chief minister and his council of ministers.
Important points to be remembered:
- President’s rule was imposed for the first time in India in the state of Punjab in 1951.
- The President’s rule was imposed for the first time in Maharashtra in 1980 and the second time in 2014.
- Presently, Maharashtra is the only Indian state where President’s Rule has been imposed.
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