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President’s Rule imposed in Maharashtra, what now?

A first in Maha history
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A first in Maha history

Tuesday's imposition of President's rule in Maharashtra is the first instance in the 59-year-old history of the state when Article 356 has been invoked because of inability of political parties to form government after assembly elections.

Overall, this is third time that Maharashtra has come under the central rule. The present-day Maharashtra came into existence on May 1, 1960.

BCCL
Power tussle
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Power tussle

In the assembly elections which were held on October 21, BJP emerged as the single largest party with 105 seats followed by the Shiv Sena 56, the NCP 54 and the Congress 44. Pre-poll allies BJP and the Shiv Sena had together won 161 seats, way above the 145 majority mark in the 288-member house.

But intense power tussle over chief minister's post created a wedge between the now erstwhile saffron partners and delayed the formation of government.

BCCL
How is President’s Rule imposed
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How is President’s Rule imposed

President’s Rule implies the suspension of a state government and the imposition of direct rule of the Centre. This is achieved through the invocation of Article 356 of the Constitution by the President on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.

Under Article 356, this move can be taken “if the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution…”

The Maharashtra Assembly has been kept in suspended animation. However, the new Assembly stands constituted, with the names of the winners being notified by the Election Commission.

In Pic: Aditya Thackeray celebrates win from Worli

BCCL
How long can it last
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How long can it last

Any proclamation under Article 356 —which stands for six months — has to be approved by both Houses of Parliament. This time-frame can be extended to up to three years.

President’s Rule can be revoked through a subsequent proclamation in case the leader of a party stakes claim to form government with enough support.

With the Assembly in suspended animation, BJP, Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress can approach the Governor any time with the required proof of support to prove majority on the floor of the House.

PTI
Similar precedents
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Similar precedents

This isn't the first time President’s Rule has been imposed following an election that did not lead to government formation. Following the February 2005 Bihar Assembly elections, no party could mobilise a majority. President’s Rule was imposed on March 7, 2005 and lasted 262 days until November 24.

A hung verdict in the 2002 Jammu and Kashmir Assemby polls led to the imposition of President’s Rule for 15 days, from October 18 to November 2. The National Conference had emerged the single largest party, but was short of a majority. The PDP and the Congress formed a coalition government after prolonged negotiations.

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Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service