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Maharashtra has been put under President’s Rule after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari informed the centre that none of the three parties he had invited since Saturday — BJP, Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) – could produce enough numbers to form the government in Maharashtra. The Governor sent a report after the NCP spoke to him this morning, hours before its 8.30 pm deadline, and asked for an extension.

The Congress has reacted sharply to the move with its leader Randeep Singh Surjewala saying that “Governor Koshiyari has committed a grave travesty of the democracy”.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the third party to be invited by the Governor to form the government in Maharashtra since results were announced on October 24, has so far failed to bring NCP-Congress alliance and the Shiv Sena together.

The Sena expected support from the Congress and NCP, but kept waiting for a confirmation from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday. She did speak to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on phone, but that was no “yes” for the Sena, which has refused to partner with the BJP to form the government in one of the biggest states in the country over its demand for an equal share of power.

As the 7.30 pm deadline for the Sena expired on Monday and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari rejected Sena’s request for a 48-hour extension, the NCP was next in line in the musical chairs that is being played out in Maharashtra. The Sharad Pawar-led party has time till 8.30 this evening to act on the Governor’s invite.

The party has maintained that it will be a collective call, but sources suggest that Congress’ delayed decision on whether to ally with Sena or not has upset the senior-most NCP leader.

“Whatever decision will be taken will be taken collectively, so we were waiting for Congress response yesterday but it didn’t come, we can’t decide on it alone,” NCP leader Ajit Pawar had said this morning.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that talks between the two parties are on, and they will move forward once discussions are done.

Meanwhile, the Sena petitioned for urgent hearing in the Supreme Court today saying while the Governor gave 48 hours to the BJP to indicate whether it can form government, they got only 24 hours to get the support letters from the Congress and the NCP.

The Governor had acted in haste at the behest of BJP to deny it the opportunity to form government, the Sena, the oldest ally of the BJP, alleged.

The BJP won 105 seats and with the support of its oldest ally Shiv Sena, which has 56 in its kitty, was to reach the majority mark of 145 comfortably in the 288-member assembly and form the government.

The Sena claimed a “50:50″ deal was discussed with BJP chief Amit Shah earlier this year, but the outgoing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis denied any such deal.

Ignoring ideological differences, the Shiv Sena decided to turn the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which has 54 seats and its ally Congress which has 44. While Sharad Pawar appeared to be on board, if only to stop the BJP’s return to power in the state, the Congress chief offered no clarity.

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