Sena raps BJP for threat to impose President rule



 The Shiva Sena here on Saturday said the President was the constitutional head of the country and any attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to misuse the office of the President or the Governor was "a threat to the country".

"The President is the constitutional head. He's not in anybody's pocket. Issuing such a threat is an insult to the public mandate and people of Maharashtra," Sena MP Sanjay Raut said.

Hitting out at senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar for his warning on Saturday that the President's rule could be imposed if the state didn't get a government by November 7, Raut said dragging the President's office into the state political crisis in this manner was "unwarranted, improper".

The Marathi 'manoos' would not be cowed down by such threats nor attached any importance to (Mungantiwar's) statements, the Sena MP said. The Sena would honour the commitments of its alliance with the BJP "till the last moment", he added.

Earlier, in an edit in the party mouthpieces 'Saamana' and 'Dopahar Ka Saamana', the Sena stated: "What the common people will make out of this threat by Mungantiwar? Does it mean that the President of India is in the (BJP's) pocket or that the seal of the President is lying in the office of the BJP in Maharashtra?."

Terming the remark "undemocratic and unconstitutional", it said: "Are they trying to convey that the BJP could impose the President's rule in Maharashtra if it's not able to form the government here."

The remark clearly showed the lack of knowledge of the Constitution and rule of law, it added.

Stunned by the Sena backlash, the BJP rushed to defend Mungantiwar saying there was nothing wrong in his statement. "What Mungantiwar said was the constitutional process. It's a process in a democracy. If the government is not formed in time, the President's rule comes in force," senior BJP leader Ram Kadam said.