Times of India | 2 days ago | 24-06-2022 | 10:03 am
MUMBAI: The MVA government led by CM Uddhav Thackeray stayed shaky on Thursday as the ranks of the dissidents swelled and 37 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs camping in Guwahati sent a letter to Maharashtra assembly's deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal stating Eknath Shinde will remain their group leader in legislature. Earlier in the day, Zirwal had said he had approved appointment of Ajay Choudhari as group leader of the Sena legislature party, replacing Shinde. The letter also stated Bharat Gogavale was appointed the new chief whip of Sena, and "appointment of Sunil Prabhu is cancelled with immediate effect". Read AlsoWhy Fadnavis has to thank two Eknaths if he returns to powerWith the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra fighting fire, all eyes are on the former chief minister, who is not only seen as the chief architect behind the ongoing political crisis, but is most likely to lead the state againThe Shinde group needs 37 MLAs to circumvent the anti-defection law. Among the MLAs who joined the rebel camp by Thursday night were those who had stayed with the party at the start of the revolt. Shinde also revealed BJP support in a video in which he said, "A national party has said it'll provide whatever help we need." More Mumbai, Konkan MLAs join Shinde campEknath Shinde has claimed a strength of 42 party MLAs, with more arriving by the night, including those who had stayed with the party at the start of the revolt. The Shinde group needs 37 MLAs to circumvent the anti-defection law. The Sena struck out against the rebels by seeking to disqualify 12 MLAs, including Shinde, from their membership in the state assembly. Sena leader Arvind Sawant approached deputy assembly speaker Narhari Zirwal and moved a petition on the grounds that the 12 MLAs had not attended meetings called by the party whip after the rebellion began. Read AlsoWhy Uddhav decided to never trust the BJP againA series of betrayals, lack of courtesies and continued targeting of his government and party members by the Centre have only hardened Thackeray’s conviction that the BJP is all set to destroy his partyHowever, a combative Shinde warned the party not to try and threaten him. "Who are you trying to scare? According to the Constitution, the whip is used for functioning within the assembly, not for party meetings. There are many Supreme Court orders on this," he tweeted. Read AlsoWhy anti-defection law has failed to prevent defectionsThe law was a non-starter because it attempts to solve a political problem through legal means. Here's why the law was brought in, how it has worked and why it has failed all over IndiaLashing out at the party, he said, "We are Shiv Sena pramukh Balasaheb Thackeray's real Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks. We know the law. You have created an illegal group without having the numbers, so we demand action against you." Read AlsoMLA’s letter explains how Uddhav lost the plotIn a frank response to Maharashtra chief minister’s recent emotional address via Facebook Live, Aurangabad (west) MLA Sanjay Shirsat says when Uddhav Thackeray shut access to the MLAs of his own party, it was Eknath Shinde who helped and guided themIn his first statement after the rebellion began, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the MVA could not be considered a minority government without a floor test. "Whether it is in the minority or not can only be decided in a floor test in the state assembly. The MVA will succeed in the floor test," Pawar said. He also said the rebel MLAs will have to come to the state assembly for the floor test and "leaders from Assam will not be able to come here to provide guidance". Eknath Shinde tweets rebel MLA's letter to Thackeray: CM was inaccessible to usIn response to a question, Pawar also said the BJP's hand in the rebellion was obvious. "You can see who has done the organising in Gujarat and Assam," he said, countering deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's statement that so far no BJP hand could be seen in the revolt. Maharashtra crisis: Shiv Sena workers smear black ink on rebel MLA Sada Sarvankar's postersThrough the day, Sena legislators arrived in Guwahati to join the coup. While most of the early dissidents were from rural Maharashtra, more MLAs from the party's bastions of Mumbai and Konkan broke away on Thursday. They included Deepak Kesarkar (Sawantwadi), Mangesh Kudalkar (Kurla) and Sada Sarvankar (Mahim). Sarvankar had backed the party when the revolt broke out. By evening, agriculture minister Dada Bhuse. Digras (Yavatmal) MLA Sanjay Rathod and Thane legislator Ravindra Phatak, who had been sent as an emissary to placate Shinde, also joined him. Why Eknath Shinde's rebellion made Shiv Sena stop and take noteThe Sena claimed it was in touch with 21 rebel MLAs who would return to the party. Sena MP Sanjay Raut tried to placate the dissidents by claiming the party was prepared to exit the MVA, which has been their key demand. "But the MLAs making this demand should return to Mumbai and place this proposal before party chief Uddhav Thackeray and then it will be discussed," Raut said. Read AlsoShiv Sena isn't the only loser in MaharashtraIn Maharashtra’s drama, Thackerays’ Sena & Gandhis’ Congress may take big hitsDeputy speaker of state assembly Narhari Zirwal backed the Sena over Eknath Shinde's dissident faction in the clash on the choice of group leader of Sena's legislature party on Thursday. He said he would examine the letter sent by the Shinde faction, which reappointed him to the post. In response to CM Uddhav Thackeray's emotional appeal to the rebels on Wednesday, Shinde released a hard-hitting letter from dissident MLA Sanjay Shirsat. The letter accused Thackeray of being inaccessible and flanked by a coterie which did not allow Sena MLAs to meet him. The letter said party MLAs were kept waiting for hours outside the chief minister's residence and finally left in frustration. "Why were Sena MLAs who have been elected from constituencies of 3-4 lakh voters insulted in this manner?" he asked. It was Sena MLAs who had persuaded Shinde to revolt, Shirsat said. "His doors were always open to us. It was Shinde who helped resolve our problems. Party MLAs persuaded Shinde to take this step (or revolt) for the rights of all the legislators," Shirsat wrote. Watch Maharashtra political crisis: Eknath Shinde our leader, 37 rebel MLAs tell deputy speaker
APART FROM its impact on various governance-related issues, the rebellion in the Shiv Sena that could lead to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state will also have a bearing on the impending choice of the Mumbai Police Commissioner. The term of the incumbent Commissioner Sanjay Pandey ends on Thursday and the chances of an extension to him, which has to be given by the central government, are slim in the current circumstances.Sources said that the government, which currently has its hands tied up with the prevailing political situation, may end up giving the additional charge for the post to a serving official if it cannot make up its mind about Pandey’s replacement. A government official said, “While there are frontrunners to the post, the change in the political situation has made the issue all the more complex. Powerful politicians like Eknath Shinde who would have had a say in pushing someone’s name forward will no longer be in contention.” The official added, “In the current climate, where law and order can be an issue especially when the rebel MLAs come to the city in case of a floor test, the MVA government will be all the more careful about whom it wants to give the reins of the police force. In the changed dynamics, they may also go in for giving another officer the additional charge in the meantime.” Sources said that in the past, when the Commissioner had been away, additional charge was given to the senior-most joint commissioner in the city. In the current scenario, Vishwas Nangre Patil, the Joint Commissioner (law & order), and Rajwardhan, Joint Commissioner (traffic), both from the 1997 batch, are the senior-most officers in the city.Prior to the rebellion, Thane Police Commissioner Jai Jeet Singh and Vivek Phansalkar, Director General-Police Housing, were seen as frontrunners for the post of the Mumbai Police Commissioner. Sources said that if the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government remains in power, it is Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar who will weigh in on the choice of the Mumbai Police Commissioner.
A number of MLAs who flew to Guwahati to join the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena had to pack their bags in great hurry. They were all taken to Surat via Palghar and then flown to Assam capital. In the rush, many of them forgot to carry along necessities such as night clothes, shaving kits and cellphone chargers. Sources in Shinde camp said that the local BJP unit in Guwahati was sent to the market to buy these items, including undergarments, for the MLAs.Naming ideasWith the Shiv Sena alleging that agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were being used to break the MVA government apart, and that rebel leader Eknath Shinde and leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis are likely to head a BJP government next, a leader of the Sena has started referring to it as “ED government” with E standing for Eknath and D for Devendra.Staying in touchA number of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs have created their own WhatsApp groups of supporters and workers in their constituencies as a way to communicate with their support base. Post the rebellion when many MLAs went incommunicado after shifting to Guwahati, these WhatsApp groups have become their sounding boards with these leaders receiving brickbats as well as bouquet emojis for their act.‘What a hotel!’Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Shahji Bapu Patil’s gushing description of the surroundings of the place in which he is presently putting up in Guwahati has led to a virtual meme fest on social media. In an audio clip of Patil’s conversation with one of his supporters after the rebellion, the leader is heard exclaiming “Kay Jhadi, Kay Dongar, Kay Hotel” (What trees, what mountains, what a hotel!). The utterances by the first-time MLA from Sangola has led to a number of memes, and a swipe from the Shiv Sena which remarked that Patil can see beautiful trees, mountains and hotels in Maharashtra as well.(Contributed by: Yogesh Naik and Zeeshan Shaikh)
Mumbai: Maharashtra’s political crisis has further deepened as the rebel MLA Eknath Shinde’s camp on Sunday went to the Supreme Court, filing an appeal against the Shiv Sena’s move to disqualify him and 15 other MLAs. The top court is likely to hear the matter on Monday. Apart from this, the Shinde camp has also challenged the appointment of Ajay Choudhari as the Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader and the rejection of the no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Narahari Zirwal.Also Read - Radisson Blu Guwahati, Rebel Maharashtra MLAs' New Camp, Closes Fresh Bookings Till June 30. Deets InsideMeanwhile, Eknath Shinde tweeted, “How can Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena support people who had a direct connection with the culprits of the Mumbai bomb blast, Dawood Ibrahim, and those responsible for taking the lives of innocent people of Mumbai? That’s why we took such a step, it’s better to die.” Also Read - Maharashtra Crisis: Shinde Camp Moves SC Against Disqualification Notice, Matter Likely to be Heard Today | Key PointsOne to two more MLAs will come and join us. With their support and other independents, our strength will be increased to 51. We will arrive at a decision in 3-4 days and thereafter we will directly go back to Maharashtra, said Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar. Also Read - Say Trek? Not Mountains But Forts! Hike To History This Monsoon And Triumph These Thrilling Fort Treks In MaharashtraMaharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari writes to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla regarding the security of MLAs (of Shinde Camp) and requested that adequate provision of Central Security forces be made and kept ready, in case required, to address the situation.Aaditya Thackeray said, “On May 20, CM Uddhav Thackeray called Eknath Shinde and asked him to become CM if he wanted to become so, but at that time, he did drama and started weeping. Just a month after, he broke into rebellion. But they (Shinde faction) aren’t capable of doing so, so this isn’t rebellion, this is separatism. They took undue advantage of CM Uddhav Thackeray’s ill-health to do all of this.”Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “40 MLAs in Guwahati are living corpses, their souls are dead. Their bodies will be sent directly to the Assembly for post-mortem when they come back. They know what can happen in the fire that has been lit here.”Maharashtra Minister of Higher & Technical Education Uday Samant reached Guwahati in Assam and joined Eknath Shinde camp.NCP chief Sharad Pawar said, “Eknath Shinde and other MLAs were there with the NCP in the govt. They didn’t have any problems in the last 2.5 years. Why does it happen today only? It’s just an excuse. We will support CM Uddhav Thackeray till the last minute. Eknath Shinde and other MLAs who’ve gone with him to Guwahati have said to form a new alliance, but NCP and Congress policy is clear to support the coalition govt that we had formed. MVA govt is there (in Maharashtra) and we want to continue supporting it.”
Further deepening the crisis for the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, another Maharashtra minister, Uday Samant, on Sunday reached Guwahati and joined the dissident camp of MLAs led by his cabinet colleague Eknath Shinde. Samant, who went incommunicado during the day, reached Guwahati from Surat. He came aboard a chartered flight and landed at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport here along with three others, sources said. Samant's convoy, escorted by Assam Police, was seen entering the Radisson Blu Hotel off NH-37. So far, Maharashtra cabinet ministers Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Sandipan Bhumre, and ministers of state Shamburaje Desai and Abdul Sattar have joined the rebel camp. Another minister, Bachu Kadu of Prahar Janshakti Party, and an Independent minister from Sena quota, Rajendra Yedravkar, have also been camping with Shinde. Dissident legislators of Shiv Sena, which heads the ruling coalition, have been camping in Guwahati, around 2,700 km away from Mumbai, since June 22. A group of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, led by Shinde, were taken to Surat from Mumbai on June 21 and then flown to Guwahati the next day. Since then, several chartered flights carrying dissident MLAs have landed at LGBI Airport. The Maharashtra Legislature Secretariat on Saturday issued summonses to 16 of the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, including Shinde, seeking written replies by the evening of June 27 to the complaints seeking their disqualification. The MLAs, after receiving the notices, have been huddling inside the hotel since Sunday morning, discussing various options to respond to the notices, sources said.
India's apex court is now involved in the unfolding political crisis in Maharashtra, after the state's rebel MLAs - led by Eknath Shinde - filed a plea in the Supreme Court, challenging their disqualification from the Shiv Sena. Earlier this week, the Shiv Sena launched a bid to disqualify 16 rebel MLAs, lodging a plea with the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly. In addition, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has also appointed Ajay Choudhari as the Legislature Party leader.The Shinde camp has raised objections to both moves, now involving the apex court, further blowing up the crisis. These pleas are set to be heard on June 27, having been listed for an unrgent hearing.