Maharashtra conundrum

The inevitable has happened. Maharashtra is now under President’s rule after Governor BS Koshyari recommended it and the President approved it. There is cause for concern when parties ignore electoral verdicts and give in to power plays that hurt the very idea of governance. People elect their representatives with the hope that they will provide governance. By now people have also realized the futility of expecting ‘good’ governance which is a pipe dream. But they do expect the elected to form a government immediately after the elections and get on with the business of governing the State. Presidents’ Rule seems justified with no party coming forward to stake claim to form the government. The BJP and Shiv Sena had been partners in governance for long. They also fought the recent elections as alliance partners, but the demand for the CM’s post by the Shiv Sena which could not have won the elections on its own steam is politically untenable. The BJP was correct in digging in its heels not to cede the Chief Minister’s chair to the Shiv Sena.

On Monday evening Governor Koshyari had given time to the NCP leader Sharad Pawar until 8.30 pm Tuesday but seeing that the Congress was dilly-dallying, perhaps the Governor though it fit to recommend President’s Rule in Maharashtra. This is a saga that besets every state after elections when there is a hung assembly. Parties that have fought bitter electoral battles and called each other names find it embarrassing and politically inexpedient to come together and form a government after elections. In one sense perhaps the electorate too is to blame for the hung verdict. It is also true that the Indian public has not yet matured as voters. Personalities play a bigger role than their ability to deliver. Caste and creed also play major roles in India’s electoral battles. For instance, it is unimaginable for the Congress and BJP to come together and form a government because of their completely divergent ideologies, even if doing so helps prevent a constitutional deadlock. The Congress is playing hard to get vis-à-vis the Shiv Sena because there is not much difference between it and the BJP in terms of its radical right wing agenda.

Now the Shiv Sena is knocking the doors of the Supreme Court seeking an urgent hearing against the Governor’s decision to not extend the deadline given to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party to prove they have the numbers to form the government. Things have not got murkier with Congress demanding that chief ministership be given to the NCP.

How the apex court decides this case will be interesting.