Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar on Friday warned of a spell of President's Rule in Maharashtra unless the warring Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena come together and form the government.
"Time is short. The BJP-Sena must take steps to give the state a stable government. If they fail to do so, Maharashtra could face a spell of President's rule which does not augur well for the state," Pawar told media persons.
To a question, the 78-year-old veteran politician said that neither the BJP nor the Sena has asked the NCP to join their government.
"The peoples' mandate is with them. We are prepared to sit in the Opposition. I cannot comment anything on the Governor's stance, but feel he must initiate suitable steps in the matter," Pawar said reiterating his earlier stance.
Ranked among the most politically stable states in the country, in its 59-year history, Maharashtra has witnessed spells of President's rule only twice -- for 112 days in Feb-June, 1980 and later for 33 days in Sep-Oct 2014.
On his meeting with Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale, the NCP chief said he had requested him (Athawale) to intervene in the matter since he enjoys a unique status in national politics.
"I had come to seek Pawar Saheb's advice on how to resolve the crisis, given his standing as an experienced national leader and in the interest of the state," Athawale said.
In a related development, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to address the media this evening on the political imbroglio amid speculation that he may tender an apology to the Sena.
Late in October, he had virtually sought to label Sena President Uddhav Thackeray a liar on the latter's insistence for an understanding with the BJP to share the post of CM and equitable power-sharing.