Mumbai: For the second time in two weeks, the Maharashtra cabinet, here on Monday, urged Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to nominate Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as a Member of the State Legislative Council to avoid a constitutional crisis at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The cabinet meeting, presided over by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, passed the resolution with the three Maha Vikas Aghadi allies — the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress – requesting the Governor to take immediate steps.
Thackeray, who took oath as the Chief Minister on November 28, 2019, is not a member of either House. As per the Constitution, he must get elected to either House of the legislature — the Assembly or the Council — within six months to continue in his post.
In the past few days, there has been intense speculation that Thackeray may be compelled to resign if he didn’t become a member of either House by May 28, possibly resulting in a huge constitutional deadlock.
However, such a possibility appeared to have receded with the cabinet on April 9 formally requesting the Governor to nominate the Chief Minister to the Upper House from his quota of two seats, currently lying vacant, and reiterating the plea again on April 27.
All elections have been postponed in view of the Covid-19 crisis and the MLC route for Thackeray through the Governor’s quota seats would help avert a Constitutional logjam.
Political experts feel it would be a major blow to the administration if Thackeray is compelled to go out of the picture as the state grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, with Maharashtra reporting the highest number of casualties and positive cases.
On April 19, the Sena had indirectly targeted the Governor for the delay in nominating Thackeray as the MLC, even as the party is examining legal options.
Sena MP Sanjay Raut said he was somehow reminded of a ‘shamelss’ Governor, late Thakur Ram Lal, who served in the Raj Bhavan in Andhra Pradesh in the early 1980s. “Remember! History doesn’t spare those who behave unconstitutionally. Samajhne walon ko ishaara kaafi hai!” Raut had tweeted on his apparent displeasure over the issue.