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President's rule in Maharashtra after CM Prithviraj Chavan's resignation?

After the NCP withdrew its support from the Democratic Front government, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan tendered his resignation to the governor; BJP has demanded President’s rule in the state

The first casualty in the aftermath of the acrimonious break-up between sparring allies Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is the entire state of Maharashtra. The NCP withdrew its support from the Democratic Front government yesterday, after which Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan sent his resignation to the Governor.

While Raj Bhavan, in its press note, hasn’t specified who the caretaker CM will be, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also broke ties with its own ally, Shiv Sena, has demanded President’s rule in the state. The political turmoil in the state continued yesterday, as Chavan tendered his resignation and senior BJP leader and leader of opposition, Eknath Khadse, met Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao yesterday.

While CM Prithviraj Chavan forwarded his resignation to Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao yesterday, NCP’s ministers (left) are yet to resign. Pic/PTI
While CM Prithviraj Chavan forwarded his resignation to Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao yesterday, NCP’s ministers (left) are yet to resign. Pic/PTI

“As the government has lost majority after NCP withdrew its support, we want President’s rule to be imposed,” said Khadse on Friday. Khadse’s stand underscores the fact that the BJP doesn’t want Chavan to function as caretaker CM during the crucial assembly polls. It is said that Rao, after meeting the CM, consulted legal experts and officials before sending a report to the Centre.

Headless during polls
If the BJP-led NDA government recommends President’s rule on the basis of the governor’s report, Chavan’s government may not be able to continue in office. The BJP wants to ensure the Congress government does not stay in power and, instead, the governor utilises all the powers during the election period. In simple terms, the Congress government will not be able to use official machinery or dictate its own terms during the poll period.

Interestingly, the press release issued by the Raj Bhavan does not specify whether Chavan was asked to continue as the caretaker CM. So, there is confusion whether the Chavan-led government can continue to discharge its duties or not. Sources say that the governor may have submitted his report to the Centre.

Meanwhile, Chavan left for his hometown, Karad, around 4 pm. He is expected to file his nominations papers on from the Karad South assembly constituency today. The NCP, while also ensuring Chavan doesn’t remain at the helm of affairs during polling, only submitted a letter withdrawing support; its ministers didn’t quit their posts. By withdrawing support, it tactfully ensured dismissal of the government, potentially bringing in President’s rule.

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