Maharashtra Assembly to be in `suspended animation'
With the political impasse in Maharashtra continuing, the newly-elected 14th Legislative Assembly of the state would remain in "suspended animation" until the Governor summons it, a legislature expert said on Saturday.
The term of the 13th Assembly is set to end on Saturday midnight, but no indication has emerged from bickering allies BJP and Shiv Sena that they were ready to form the new government.
The state is witnessing a deadlock as the BJP and Sena, who together won enough seats in the October 21 state elections to come to power, are locked in a bitter tussle over the chief minister's post.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis resigned as chief minister on Friday. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari accepted the resignation and asked him to continue as caretaker CM.
"Till the governor does not summon the new assembly, the 14th Assembly, which has been constituted, will remain in suspended animation," Anant Kalse, former principal secretary of the Maharashtra Legislature, told PTI.
There is no specified period for which Assembly can be put in suspended animation, he added.
As long as the governor does not summon the first sitting of the new House, it will be "on hold", said Kalse.
The newly-elected MLAs will, nevertheless, get their salaries and other perks during the period, he added.
Kalse also noted that this is the first time in the state's history that the single largest party -- which is the BJP -- has not staked claim to form the next government, nor has the governor invited it to do so.
"Fifteen days have passed since the assembly election results. If the single largest party does not stake a claim, it is up to the governor to invite it, and if that party refuses then he can explore options of the second-largest or third- largest party," Kale said.
"President's rule is the last option," he added.
Also, the governor cannot summon the new Assembly without the cabinet's recommendation, and at present, there is no cabinet in the state, the former bureaucrat added.
The BJP won 105 and Shiv Sena 56 seats in the 288- member House, securing a comfortable majority as an alliance.
Congress and NCP won 44 and 54 seats, respectively. They have said the ball is in the Governor's court, with NCP chief Sharad Pawar repeatedly stating that the mandate for them was to sit in the opposition.
"BJP is not staking claim since it doesn't have the numbers to get its Speaker elected in the first session, which will have to be called for administering the oath to the newly- elected members. The new government will also have to face a trust vote," state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat said.
The three-decade-old alliance between the BJP and its oldest ally Shiv Sena appeared to be on shaky ground on Friday as Fadnavis and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had a bitter showdown over sharing the chief minister's post.