Times of India | 2 days ago | 22-06-2022 | 02:32 pm
NEW DELHI: The Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government in Maharashtra seems to be on its way out with the Shiv Sena staring at a split down the middle, barring last minute surprises. For chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, it is set to be a double whammy. He will not only lose the CM’s chair, but will also lose his grip on the party with most of his MLAs siding with rebel Eknath Shinde. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who is known for his aggressive public posturing on issues concerning the party, has already hinted that they may have lost this battle. In his tweets, he has spoken about the possibilities of losing power, dissolution of assembly. "At the most what will happen.. Our government will lose the majority in the state. We can always return to power, but the party's image is above all," Raut said in one of his tweets. "The ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra is heading to the dissolution of Vidhan Sabha," the Sena leader said in another tweet. With Eknath Shinde flaunting numbers from Assam, where the dissident MLAs are now lodged, there is very little that Uddhav Thackeray can do to save his government. A resolution seems unlikely with the rebels demanding that Shiv Sena sever its ties with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (its current allies) and return to the BJP’s fold. The fact that chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is now down with Covid does not help matters for the Shiv Sena. This is not the first time that the Shiv Sena has lost its top leaders. The party has seen at least three high-profile exits till now - Raj Thackeray, Chhagan Bhujbal and Nitin Rane - but has managed to bounce back each time. However, this time it could be different. Eknath Shinde has claimed that he has support of nearly 40 Shiv Sena MLAs. If that turns out to be true or even if he is anywhere close to that number, it will be difficult for Uddhav Thackeray to maintain his hold on the party. The Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs and the dissidents need 37 to stay away from the provisions of anti-defection law, which means they will be allowed to together decide the future course of action.. Eknath Shinde has cleverly used the 'Hindutva' card and the name of late Shiv Sena founder-supremo Balasaheb Thackeray to attract Sena MLAs to his side. "We are Balasaheb (Thackeray)'s staunch Shiv Sainiks. Balasaheb has taught us Hindutva. We have never and will never compromise on the teachings of Balasaheb and 'dharmaveer' Anand Dighe for power," Shinde had said in his first tweet on Tuesday after leading the rebellion.
NEW DELHI: There is no end in sight for the Maharashtra political crisis and the tussle within the Shiv Sena, as the rebel MLAs led by Eknath Shinde seem prepared to stay put in Guwahati. They are awaiting clarity on two moot points before contemplating a return to Mumbai- the possible disqualification of 16 dissident MLAs and the appointment of the chief whip in the legislative assembly. The battle could well get dragged to the courts as the two sides look closely at the legal options available. Eknath Shinde tweets rebel MLA's letter to Thackeray: CM was inaccessible to usUddhav Thackeray has called a meeting of the party's national executive committee on Saturday at 1pm. The meeting will be held at Mumbai's Shiv Sena Bhavan which the CM will join virtually. Maharashtra crisis live updatesThe rebel faction of Eknath Shinde will also convene for a meeting at Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati this afternoon to discuss further strategy, sources said. Maharashtra crisis: Shiv Sena workers smear black ink on rebel MLA Sada Sarvankar's postersHere are the latest developments in the Maharashtra political saga: Eknath Shinde writes to CM Thackeray over security concernsRebel Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde has shot off a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and all police commissioners in the state, claiming that the security to the family members of the 38 "rebel" MLAs have been "maliciously" withdrawn. He alleged that MVA leaders have instigated their cadres to take up violence against the rebel MLAs and intimidate them. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has threatened that they would not be able to move around in Maharashtra, he said. Shinde further said that in Punjab, the security of high profile persons was removed and then they became the targets of goons and gangsters. he expressed concern that the same could happen in Maharashtra. Reacting to Shinde's letter, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said only MLAs are eligible for state security, but not their families. Shortly afterwards, Maharashtra home minister Dilip Walse Patil said in a tweet that no orders have been issued by the CM or home department to remove the security of any MLA. The allegations are totally false and misleading. 'Skipping meet no ground for disqualification'The political drama unfolding in Maharashtra now has legal experts divided too on whether disqualification can be sought for the 'rebels' in Shiv Sena. However, most are in agreement that the MLAs cannot be disqualified on grounds of not attending recent party meetings as that is outside the ambit of legislative affairs. Why Eknath Shinde's rebellion made Shiv Sena stop and take noteThe party's petition to the deputy speaker seeking disqualification of 16 MLAs including rebel leader Eknath Shinde has sought to invoke para 2 (1) (a) of the 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which governs 'disqualification on grounds of defection'. Maha crisis: Eknath Shinde showcases strength, releases first video with 42 rebel MLAs from Guwahati280 MVA decisions in 4 days; ‘rebels’ arranged orders, funds before flightThe MVA government led by CM Uddhav Thackeray has taken 280 decisions since Monday. "It seems that the rebel cabinet members ensured that all relevant orders are issued before they leave Mumbai, an official said. "They took proper care: orders have been issued and adequate budgetary provisions made for the purpose," he said. Read AlsoOptions before Eknath Shinde: Approach court or governorFour days after rebel Shiv Sena member Eknath Shinde raised the banner of revolt against the leadership of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, the moot question is what are the options before him. Experts said since the 10th schedule of the anti-defection law amended in 2003 does not recognise a split,Provisions have been made for Rs 1,200 crore for providing power at a concessional rate for industrial consumers in the backward areas in Vidarbha, Marathwada and north Maharashtra. Provisions have also been made for distribution of bulk water to private housing societies. As many as 18 decisions have been taken by the water supply department controlled by rebel minister Gulabrao Patil. 'Rebels in no hurry to leave Guwahati until key issues resolved'Former minister and Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar, who is now in the Eknath Shinde camp, told TOI on Friday said the rebel group is in no hurry to return to Maharashtra until two issues - the possible disqualification of 16 dissident MLAs and the appointment of the chief whip in the legislative assembly- are resolved. Kesarkar said, "How can they have their chief whip when their house strength has dwindled to 15 members. Our group has the support of 38 Sena MLAs. These moves are completely unconstitutional. If there is a vote of no-confidence, the downfall of the present government will be imminent." "The petition for disqualification of the 16 MLAs is on ground that they did not attend a meeting of Sena legislators. This meeting was called at very short notice and they must remember that Maharashtra is a big state and, in some parts, it takes at least 10-12 hours to reach Mumbai. How can these MLAs travel from their home district to Mumbai in such a short time? " he said.
MUMBAI: While Covid-19 cases dipped in Maharashtra on Friday, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to lakhs of warkaris walking towards Pandharpur during Ashadhi Wari to use face masks to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission. The state had registered its highest single-day tally in this surge on Thursday at 5,218, but cases dropped by 20% to 4,205 on Friday. Mumbai saw a 24% drop, with 1,898 cases registered on Friday. "We had a problem updating our data on the ICMR website for a couple of days and that led to a bunching up of cases on Thursday. But the data is now updated and Mumbai is back to reporting less than 2,000 cases a day," said BMC executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare. Two nonagenarians with chronic conditions succumbed to Covid-related complications in Mumbai while the neighbouring Thane city registered a death. Daily hospitalisations which had gone past 100 dropped on Friday to 96. The daily test positivity rate which had increased to 20% a few days back was 12% for the second consecutive day. Dr Gomare said that cases should start plateauing soon. Dr Gautam Bhansali, who is a member of the state Covid task force, said that despite the surge, patients are recovering with minimum medication within a few days. "There is no need to panic at all,'' he said. The surge has been limited to five districts-Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Palghar and Raigad-but the state administration is worried about the Pandharpur yatra. Of the 4,205 cases on Thursday, 3,354 (80%) were detected in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. A state official said, "Active cases in the state have crossed 25,000 as compared to 626 a couple of months back. In this backdrop, the chief minister held a video-conference instructing district collectors, municipal commissioners and district police superintendents to take steps to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19.'' Meanwhile, another patient of BA.5 variant has been detected in Nagpur. State surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate said a fully vaccinated 27-year-old female tested Covid-positive on June 19. "She was mildly symptomatic initially but has since become asymptomatic and is stable and in home isolation,'' he added. The total tally of BA.4 and BA.5 variant cases in the state has increased to 26-15 in Pune, five in Mumbai, four in Nagpur and two in Thane.
MUMBAI: As the face-off between the Shiv Sena leadership and the rebels drags on, the Thackeray camp has shed its reconciliatory approach. Senior leaders said in the first two days after the crisis blew up, there was a difference of opinion on whether the chief minister should resign and quit the MVA or face a floor test. According to a source, one section suggested that Uddhav Thackeray should resign and talk to the MLAs after leaving the coalition; others advocated a tough line saying the CM must not give in to pressure from dissidents. CM himself made an emotional pitch in his speech on Wednesday. "There was a difference of opinion. It was suggested that since we don't have the numbers and the Shinde camp is only going to swell, there was no point in going for a floor test since the legal battle would take a long time and losing the floor test could cause more embarrassment to the party," a leader said. A press conference by a senior Sena leader like Subhash Desai was suggested but this plan was dropped. Instead spokesman Sanjay Raut took a strident line on Friday. "We will win on the floor of the house, we won't give up. They (MLAs) have taken a very wrong step. We also gave them a chance to return to Mumbai (and mend fences). Now, we challenge them to come to Mumbai," he said. Earlier Raut had said the party is ready to withdraw from the MVA alliance provided the rebels return to Mumbai and meet the CM. Among senior leaders, Anil Parab, Anil Desai, Subhash Desai and Raut are still with Thackeray apart from 17 MLAs. "Meetings were held in Matoshree. There was a difference of opinion on whether a constitutional or legal battle will help now since it will take a long time. A section said had the CM resigned, Eknath Shinde may have come for negotiation. But Raut's view was the party could not surrender; a legal and constitutional battle was the only way out,," a source said.
MUMBAI: Four days after rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde raised the banner of revolt against the leadership of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, the moot question is what are the options before him. Experts said since the 10th schedule of the anti-defection law amended in 2003 does not recognize a split, there are limited options before Shinde. Till 2003, if 2/3rd of members left a party, they could still form a separate group and not attract the anti-defection law. But since there was no end to defections, the law was further tightened. “Even if you quit the party with 2/3rd members, you still cannot escape disqualification,” former advocate general Ravindra Kadam told TOI. Kadam said Shinde has limited options. “Either he should submit that he represents the original Shiv Sena or he has the option to merge the group with the party which he is proposing to team up with. The new law does not recognize a split,” Kadam said. NCP leader Eknath Khadse said Shinde’s effort to take control of Sena has been thwarted by deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal’s decision to recognize Ajay Choudhary as leader of the Sena legislature party. All orders to enforce a whip or influence voting in the assembly flow from the legislature party leader Khadse said the revolt appears headed for a legal battle. “Whatever is the outcome of the deputy speaker’s decision, Shinde will have to approach the court to prove that he has the authority to appoint a legislative party leader and whip,” Khadse said. Former principal secretary (legislature secretariat) Anant Kalse said since the 10th schedule does not recognize a split, Shinde has limited options. “In my opinion, he should knock at the doors of Raj Bhavan, tell the Governor to convene a special session of the state legislature on the ground that the MVA government has lost majority,” Kalse said.
NASHIK/AURANGABAD: Members of Shiv Sena in Ahmednagar and Jalgaon municipal corporations are in 'tight spot' following the rebellion by Eknath Shinde. Ahmednagar civic body has 25 Sena corporators and shares power with NCP. Sena got its mayor in Jalgaon Municipal Corporation last year after a defection of 30 BJP corporators engineered by Shinde. Sena sources in Ahmednagar city unit told TOI that at least 10-12 Sena corporators have endorsed the stand taken by Shinde about toeing the Hindutva line. Adav told TOI that although he has huge respect for Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, he fully endorses and supports Shinde. He also said Uddhav is still the chief of Sena. "The party is moving away from its core principle by aligning with parties that are not natural allies of Sena," he said, adding the leaders deputed by central leadership to oversee party affairs in Ahmednagar are ruining Sena in the district. Sena leaders from Jalgaon claimed there is no threat to the ruling party in the civic body, one of the defectors admitted he is watching the political developments keenly. "If the Shinde faction joins hands with BJP to form the government, there is a possibility of a political turmoil in the Jalgaon civic body," added Sena sources. Jalgaon city president Suresh Bhole mocked the defectors saying that they have 'dug their own grave' by deserting BJP. In Aurangabad, which had Shiv Sena and BJP in alliance for the municipal corporation, party workers were confident of bagging more than expected number of seats. The term for the previous body elected ended in April 2020 and since then, the AMC is being headed and run by administrator Astik Kumar Pandey. Former Shiv Sena mayor Nandkumar Ghodele said, "For the first two days, we felt that the rebellion would dent the party. But with the passing of time, we sense a growing sympathy and love for Sena and Thackeray family." He said that in the upcoming civic body elections, Sena will definitely get more seats as people are criticising the rebel camp. During the previous term, Shiv Sena won 28 seats and post election, seven independents joined the fold.