As MLAs vest absolute powers on Shinde, legal hurdles await rebels

The Indian Express | 4 days ago | 24-06-2022 | 05:45 am

As MLAs vest absolute powers on Shinde, legal hurdles await rebels

While declaring Eknath Shinde as their group leader, Shiv Sena rebels on Thursday pledged support and vested absolute powers on him to take any decision on their behalf. At a meeting held in a five-star hotel in Guwahati, Shinde addressed the rebels to convey a message of political one-upmanship against Uddhav Thackeray’s faction of Shiv Sena.A source in the Shinde camp told The Indian Express, “We are upbeat. Every step is being taken after proper deliberation. We are in know of each and every decision being made.” A senior rebel leader added, “Shinde has reassured all of us that we are going to be the real Sena.”During his address to the MLAs, without naming any party, Shinde emphasised that a pan-India party and its leader who has taken Pakistan head-on has expressed solidarity with their cause.While the Shinde camp has garnered the required number of MLAs to bypass the anti-defection rules, he, however, is set to face legal hurdles in its way of becoming the “real” Shiv Sena.A senior official in the state secretariat said, “Under the anti-defection law, a two-third majority is required to form a separate group. The individual leader will have to prove the strength before the deputy speaker in the state legislature.”Shinde will require the support of at least 37 MLAs to get the nod for becoming a separate group in the Maharashtra Assembly. Also, the process of forming a separate party will require filing an application before the chief election commission. Only after completing all formalities, a party will be allotted a symbol.However, insiders cautioned that if Shinde were to stake claim over the original Shiv Sena and its symbol of bow and arrow, it will be a cumbersome process. “They will have to ensure a vertical split of the party, not only within the elected members in the Assembly but across the party’s office-bearers,” said a source.Shinde has already been divested of his post of the Shiv Sena legislative party leader by the Thackeray camp. Maharashtra Assembly’s Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal has also approved the appointment of Ajay Choudhary as Shiv Sena group leader in the House replacing Shinde.In a letter to Zirwal, Shinde had contested his ouster. He had stated that his removal from the post was invalid, as the meeting in which Choudhary was appointed was attended by only 15 to 16 members.Shinde also wrote that he was appointing Sunil Prabhu as the chief whip of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party, replacing Bharat Gogavale.However, an official in Vidhan Bhavan said, “We have not received any such letter from Shinde.”A a senior BJP functionary said, “Technical glitches are expected. As a result, the next course of action will take some time. But there is no ambiguity about Maha Vikas Aghadi’s downfall.”

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Maharashtra political crisis: Sena prepares to move SC if governor asks Uddhav to take floor test
Times of India | 1 hour ago | 29-06-2022 | 02:03 am
Times of India
1 hour ago | 29-06-2022 | 02:03 am

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena is preparing to move the Supreme Court if governor B S Koshyari asks CM Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly. According to reports, a section of independent legislators may approach Koshyari, saying they have withdrawn support to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, following which it has lost its majority. At the time of formation of the MVA government, these independent legislators had extended support to Thackeray. If they approach the governor, Koshyari will have no option but to ask Thackeray to prove his majority. Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant said he was not aware if a petition has been filed before Kolshyari, but if he directs the CM to prove his majority, Sena will approach the Supreme Court. During the course of hearing of the petition filed by rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, the Supreme Court had observed that the deputy speaker of the legislative assembly cannot disqualify the rebel legislators till July 12. "Our information is that the SC has ordered status quo. Further, the court orally declined to pass any order in connection with the no- confidence motion. So it is expected that Raj Bhavan will not ask the CM to prove his majority on the floor of the house. If directions are issued for a floor test, then Sena will approach SC," Sawant said. Read AlsoMeet the 'coterie' that rebels blame for Sena's troublesMany Sainiks have blamed the breakdown of communication between them and the top leadership for the trouble that the party finds itself. Here are some of the people, Sainiks believe, were responsible for the snapPublic works minister Ashok Chavan said since the SC has ordered status quo, he does not think Raj Bhavan will order a floor test. "In my opinion, it is a sub-judice matter. Everyone will have to wait till July 12," he said. Former CM Prithviraj Chavan too felt it would be wrong to ask the CM to hold a floor test. "There were three main issues before the apex court: disqualification of legislators who defied the party whip, no- confidence motion against deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal and appointment of Shiv Sena legislature party leader Ajay Choudhary. I feel that in view of the clear legal position, Raj Bhavan will not ask the CM to prove his majority on the floor of the house," he said. Read AlsoWhat if Uddhav's softness is tactical?All his life, Uddhav had been described as too soft to run Shiv Sena. His record of winning elections and party battles, however, says something elseThe MVA's lawyer Devdutt Kamat had contended in SC that till the pendency of the petition, Raj Bhavan should be restrained from asking the CM to prove his majority. The apex court declined to pass an order but gave liberty to Sena to approach it if it is aggrieved by any order.

Maharashtra political crisis: Sena prepares to move SC if governor asks Uddhav to take floor test
Uddhav Thackeray Has Lost Majority, Must Face Floor Test: BJP To Governor
Ndtv | 2 hours ago | 29-06-2022 | 12:27 am
Ndtv
2 hours ago | 29-06-2022 | 12:27 am

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has lost majority in house and a floor test is in order, the BJP told the Governor this evening. The party delegation was led by Devendra Fadnavis, who headed for the meet on his return from Delhi. Here are the Top 10 points in this big story:"We have written to the Governor and told him that Shiv Sena's 39 MLAs are repeatedly saying they don't want to be in an alliance with the Congress-NCP. This means they are not with the government," Devendra Fadnavis told reporters after the meeting."So we have told the Governor that he should ask the Chief Minister to conduct a floor test and prove majority," he added.Mr Fadnavis -- the predecessor of Uddhav Thackeray on the top post -- headed for the Governor's House straight from the airport. He was accompanied by Girish Mahajan and state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil.In Delhi, Mr Fadnavis had a 30-minute strategy session with BJP chief JP Nadda this evening amid speculation about the party staking claim to form government.Earlier today, sources had said the Governor may ask Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove majority this week.The Team Thackeray had requested the Supreme Court that no floor test be allowed till the matter of disqualification notices to 17 rebel MLAs be settled. The court has refused to pass orders on it.In a day of fast-paced developments, Mr Thackeray sought a meeting with the rebels on their return to Mumbai, which is likely on Thursday."I want to appeal to you - time is still not lost. Please come, sit with me, remove all doubts from the minds of Shiv Sainiks and the public, then we can find a way out. We can sit together and find a way out," Mr Thackeray wrote.Eknath Shinde, who is leading the coup aganst Uddhav Thackeray,  said that he would go to Mumbai "soon" and "take Balasaheb Thackeray's legacy forward", indicating that he is ready for the next move. He claims he has the backing of around 50 MLAs, nearly 40 of them from the Shiv Sena.The Shiv Sena has accused the BJP of masterminding the revolt and hounding its leaders using investigating agencies. Uddhav Thackeray's key spokesperson, Sanjay Raut, was summoned today by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case but he refused to go. Mr Raut terms the summons a conspiracy. Comments

Uddhav Thackeray Has Lost Majority, Must Face Floor Test: BJP To Governor
Your Daily Wrap: Udaipur tense after man hacked to death, Mukesh Ambani resigns as Reliance Jio’s director; and more
The Indian Express | 4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 10:45 pm
The Indian Express
4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 10:45 pm

◾ A tailor in Udaipur was hacked to death today by two persons allegedly for posting a social media statement in favour of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who had made controversial remarks about Prophet Mohammad. With the city tense following the murder, internet services have been suspended, and 600 police personnel along with senior officers are being sent to Udaipur. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has appealed for peace. “Strict action will be taken against all the criminals involved in this incident and the police will go to the bottom of the crime. I appeal to all parties to maintain peace,” he said.◾ Meanwhile, in Delhi, Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair was sent to four-day police custody over a 2018 tweet that allegedly hurt religious sentiments. On Zubair’s arrest, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: “The arrest of journalist Mohammed Zubair in Delhi is pettiness, vengeance and repression let loose on a society once aspiring to be free. It is also a distillation of the way in which the Narendra Modi government draws energy from a thorough contempt for liberty, decency, constitutional values, and the opinion of the international community.”◾ In Maharashtra, where the political turmoil refuses to abate, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to rebel Shiv Sena MLAs to return, saying he is “worried” about them. “Don’t fall prey to anyone’s missteps. The honour given to you by Shiv Sena cannot be found anywhere. If you come forward and speak, we will sort out the issues. As Shiv Sena party chief and family head, I am still worried about you. Come here for a dialogue,” he said. His appeal came hours after Rebel leader Eknath Shinde said he will soon return to Mumbai.◾ In other news from the city, four people were killed after a helicopter operating for the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) made an emergency landing off the Mumbai coast. The chopper, with nine people on board, ditched in the sea 60 nautical miles away from Mumbai near Sagar Kiran rig on Tuesday morning.◾ In business news, the GST Council today approved changes in tax rates on some goods and services while allowing states to issue an e-way bill for intra-state movement of gold and precious stones. The Council, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also cleared a host of compliance procedures for GST-registered businesses along with a GoM report on high-risk taxpayers to check evasion.◾ Mukesh Ambani has resigned from the board of his group’s telecom arm, Reliance Jio and handed over the reins of the company to elder son Akash, a step seen as succession planning by the 65-year old billionaire. In a stock exchange filing, Reliance Jio Infocomm said the company’s board at a meeting on June 27, “approved the appointment of Akash M Ambani, non-executive director, as chairman of the board of directors of the company.”Political Pulse◾ The BJP is hoping for gains beyond the immediate in its storming of the Samajwadi Party bastions of Rampur and Azamgarh Lok Sabha seats in the recent bypolls. The planning and strategy to secure the constituencies, supervised by senior leader Amit Shah as per sources, have punched holes in the SP’s confidence in its loyal Muslim-Yadav vote bank. The results also fit in with the BJP’s Mission 2024 plans, which it has already set in motion. With the SP having mounted a creditable challenge to it in the recent Assembly elections, the BJP knows the party as the one to beat in the state, and these two seats were its best chance of sending a message to the party. 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Your Daily Wrap: Udaipur tense after man hacked to death, Mukesh Ambani resigns as Reliance Jio’s director; and more
Maharashtra cabinet to decide on renaming Aurangabad city to Sambhaji Nagar: Anil Parab
The Indian Express | 4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 10:45 pm
The Indian Express
4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 10:45 pm

The Shiv Sena Tuesday raised the issue of renaming of Aurangabad city to Sambhaji Nagar and said the state cabinet will take a decision on the matter Wednesday.“In today’s cabinet, I have raised the issue of renaming Aurangabad city to Sambhaji Nagar. A resolution to this effect will be discussed in the next cabinet meeting that will be held on Wednesday,” minister Anil Parab said after the cabinet meeting Tuesday.The Shiv Sena’s decision to rake up the renaming issue comes at a time when it is facing a serious political crisis with a large chunk of party MLAs having deserted the Sena. The rebel MLAs have over the past few days questioned the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena’s commitment to Hindutva, stating that the party is gradually being weaned away from its core ideology.In the late 1980s, Aurangabad became one of the first major cities outside the Mumbai-Thane belt that the Sena set its eyes on, said political pundits. The city’s 30 per cent Muslim population made it fertile ground for polarisation, and soon after riots that led to the killing of over 25 people, in 1988, the Sena won the elections to the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation.On May 8, 1988, Shiv Sena supremo late Balasaheb Thackeray announced the renaming of the city as Sambhaji Nagar after Sambhaji, the son of Shivaji, who was killed by Aurangzeb. In 1995, the corporation passed a resolution to do so, and the Shiv-Sena led government in the state issued a notification seeking suggestions and objections from people on this.The notification was challenged in the Bombay High Court by then AMC Congress corporator Mushtaq Ahmed. While the plea was dismissed by the Court stating that no decision had been taken, the renaming has remained a contentious issue and resurfaces ahead of every election.With the Shiv Sena in power, both the BJP and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have over the past two years been criticising the Sena for its failure to rename the city. Sena’s MVA allies, the Congress and the NCP, have not been too keen on the renaming of the city.In March 2020, the MVA government had cleared a proposal to rename the Aurangabad airport as Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj Airport. However, this has not yet got the go-ahead from the Centre.

Maharashtra cabinet to decide on renaming Aurangabad city to Sambhaji Nagar: Anil Parab
Its chief from the start, Aaditya Thackeray deploys Yuva Sena in the battle over cadre
The Indian Express | 4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 10:45 pm
The Indian Express
4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 10:45 pm

With the battle between Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde now virtually a tussle over who controls the “real Sena”, one of the outfits rallying support at the Mumbai end is the Yuva Sena.The youth wing of the party founded by Balasaheb Thackeray as the vehicle for grandson Aaditya in October 2010, who was then just 20, the Yuva Sena continues to be his baby. And as Aaditya takes on the Shinde faction from the forefront, so is the Yuva Sena, with rallies of party workers planned in every ward of the state, leading up to a meeting in the district, and campaigns being waged on social media.One such rally was held on June 25 at Birla Matoshri Griha in South Mumbai, with Aaditya addressing the ‘Yuva Sainiks’. In his speech, he called the rebel MLAs “dirt”, and said their leaving was good riddance. There will be two floor tests, he warned, one in the House (Assembly) and the other on the roads.“They (the Sena rebels) will have to land first at the airport, and remember the way to Vidhan Bhavan passes through Bandra, Worli, Parel and Byculla,” he said, hinting that the MLAs will have to face the Shiv Sainiks.Aaditya is now holding rallies almost every day to interact with cadres that the party is trying to hold on to, and as per the party, has been drawing a good response.Since the Yuva Sena was announced, by Thackeray Senior himself at the Sena’s marquee annual Dussehra rally, with the handing over of a sword to Aaditya, the latter has used it to build a profile for himself, while filling a crucial gap in the party’s support base. The Sena till then (and even now) was essentially a party of the working class, tapping into their fears and aspirations, and moulded for itself a rugged, aggressive image its base could identify with.The Yuva Sena made its space instead in colleges and universities, particularly in the metro areas, and raised issues that matter to youths and students. It also has an IT cell. The cadre is projected as tech-savvy, modern and elite, as compared to the common Shiv Sainik who works at the grass-root level.Another reason for the formation of the Yuva Sena was to take on the earlier party youth wing, Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS), which was controlled by Raj Thackeray. When Raj left the Sena in 2005, almost all the BVS leaders and cadre switched sides with him, leaving the Sena virtually no presence in that space. The BVS itself had not done much to cultivate support on the campus.With Raj Thackeray’s MNS seeing early success in the corporation and even Assembly elections of 2009, the Sena had moved quickly to anoint Aaditya, who was seen as more aggressive than father Uddhav.Incidentally, one of the accusations levelled at Aaditya, who has headed the Yuva Sena since its formation, by rebels now is his endorsement of “progressive” causes that often go against the Sena’s own core.Apart from Aaditya, cousin Varun Sardesai is active in the Yuva Sena. As are offspring of Sena leaders, MLAs, MPs and others. This has given it a heft and clout which other grass-roots cadres see as disproportionate to its work. The Sena rebels’ list of grievances include the positions cornered by the Yuva Sena in the party.

Its chief from the start, Aaditya Thackeray deploys Yuva Sena in the battle over cadre