With rebel leader Eknath Shinde having the support of 37 MLAs – the required number to bypass the anti-defection law – the Shiv Sena on Thursday sought the disqualification of 12 rebel legislators, including him. Sources said the Shiv Sena has filed a petition with the Maharashtra assembly deputy speaker demanding to cancel the membership of these MLAs.
Besides Shinde, other MLAs are – Tanaji Sawant, Mahesh Shinde, Abdul Sattar, Sandipanrao Bhumre, Bharatshet Gogawale, Sanjay Shirsat, Yamini Jadhav, Lata Chandrakant, Anil Babar, Prakash Surve and Balaji Kinikar.
Shinde has the crucial support of more than two-thirds of Shiv Sena MLAs – 37 of the 55 – along with nine Independent legislators pledging allegiance to him.
Here are some of the key points on the unfolding Maharashtra political crisis:
- Following Sena’s disqualification appeal, a combative Shinde tweeted who is the party “trying to scare”? “Who are you trying to scare? We know your make-up and the law too! According to the 10th Schedule to the Constitution, the whip is for assembly work, not for meeting. There are numerous Supreme Court decisions in this regard,” he tweeted in Marathi.
- Speaking to News18, Shinde claimed he has the support of 40 MLAs and that there was no question of retracting their decision. He also claimed that more MLAs will join his camp. Meanwhile, in a video released by Shinde’s office today, he was heard saying that a “national party” has termed their revolt as “historic” and assured to provide all help to them.
- Earlier today, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said they are ready to quit the Maha Vikas Aghadi government if the rebel MLAs return to Mumbai. “The rebels who are out of Mumbai have raised the issue of Hindutva. If all these MLAs feel that Shiv Sena should walk out of the MVA, show the guts to come back to Mumbai…Your demand will be considered. But come and talk with Uddhav Thackeray,” he said.
- On Thursday afternoon, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called for a meeting of Shiv Sena MLAs but reportedly only 13 legislators attended it.
- Amid the crisis, MVA allies NCP and Congress pledged full support to Uddhav Thackeray. NCP president Sharad Pawar said the fate of the MVA government will be decided in a floor test. Pawar also asserted that the BJP has played a role in the crisis.
- Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, however, denied that BJP had a role in the unfolding crisis. “So far, no top BJP leader has been seen in the forefront,” he said.
- State NCP chief Jayant Patil said the MVA continues to enjoy majority. “The rebels haven’t quit the Shiv Sena. They are sulking right now and will return,” he said.
- On Wednesday, Uddhav made an impassioned appeal to the rebel MLAs to come and speak to him. He also offered to quit as CM and Sena president. Later on Wednesday night, Uddhav vacated his official residence, Varsha, and moved to Matoshree, his family home.
- Shinde had earlier said that he raised the banner of revolt because Shiv Sena has “left Hindutva”. He demanded that Sena snap ties with NCP and Congress, and renew its alliance with the BJP.
(With PTI inputs)