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Governor recommends President's rule in Bihar

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 06, 2005 21:06 IST
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After a weeklong impasse over government formation in Bihar in the wake of the polls throwing up a hung assembly, Governor Buta Singh on Sunday recommended to the Centre the imposition of President's rule in the state.

The recommendation came within hours of Singh meeting Lok Janshakti Party leader Ramvilas Paswan, whose 29 members of Legislative Assembly held the key to government formation.

The governor recommended President's rule after Paswan stuck to his stand of not supporting either the Rashtriya Janata Dal or the National Democratic Alliance, the two main contenders for power.

"Since neither the RJD-led alliance nor the NDA has come forward with the support of 122 MLAs required for majority, the governor recommended imposition of President's rule under Article 356 of the Constitution to end the political uncertainty," Raj Bhavan sources told PTI.

The recommendation has been sent to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi earlier in the day to discuss the developments in Bihar.

The governor in his four-page report has listed the strength of various parties and combinations in the 243-member assembly.

The new assembly has already been constituted and the outgoing assembly, whose term is to expire on Sunday night, has been also dissolved by the governor.

If President's rule is imposed, the Parliament will have to pass a vote-on-account for Bihar before March 31.

Caretaker Chief Minister Rabri Devi had on Saturday staked claim to form government stating that the RJD had emerged as the single largest party in the elections.

Besides her own 75 MLAs, she had submitted letters of support from the ten-member Congress, three Nationalist Congress Party MLAs, two Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs and a Communist Party of India [Marxist] legislator. However, the RJD and its allies are still 31 short of the magic figure of 122 in the 243-member House.

The NDA, which has 92 MLAs, LJP [29], CPI-Marxist Leninist (Liberation) [7], Samajwadi Party [4] and six Independents had separately petitioned the governor requesting him not to entertain the RJD's claim.

Buta Singh is reported to have assured an NDA delegation on Saturday that he will not invite any party or alliance to form the government unless he was presented with the sworn affidavits of support of 122 MLAs.

Reacting to the governor's recommendation, the RJD and the BJP held Ramvilas Paswan responsible for the impending President's rule by refusing to align with their respective political formations.

Paswan's 'intransigence' regarding a tie-up with the RJD showed 'utter disrespect' to the mandate, which was 'in favour of secular forces', RJD spokesman Shivanand Tiwari and state president Abdul Bari Siddiqui told reporters.

Tiwari said 'being a UPA [United Progressive Alliance] ally, the LJP should have come forward to form a secular government led by the RJD, which emerged the single largest after the poll'.

Slamming the LJP chief, BJP national vice-president Sushil Kumar Modi said had Paswan aligned with the NDA a stable government would have been formed in the state.

The NDA, he said, would in the meantime strive to cobble together a majority to provide 'a stable government.'

He claimed that several LJP MLAs were even in favour of the party joining hands with the BJP and the JD (U).

JD (U) apprehended that the RJD would continue to rule the state indirectly as it was an important ally of the UPA at the Centre.

Talking to reporters, senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar alleged it was because of Paswan, who wanted to remain a minister at the Centre and continue his anti-RJD posture in Bihar, that the state was heading towards President's rule.

Earlier, he had an hour-long meeting at the residence of party's Parliamentary Board chairman Sharad Yadav. BJP leaders Arun Jaitley was also present at the meeting.

However, Paswan said a short spell of President's rule in Bihar would clean up the 'accumulated garbage' of the RJD governance.

He said he would press ahead with efforts to form a non-RJD, non-BJP ministry.

"The writing was on the wall. I have been speculating it since the beginning," Paswan said while reacting to the governor's recommendation.

Earlier reports:

Bihar: NDA gets ready to stop Lalu

LJP, JD(U) look to form govt with BJP support

LJP ridicules RJD for staking claim


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