Times of India | 4 days ago | 23-06-2022 | 02:47 pm
MUMBAI: Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Shirsat has written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, claiming that state minister Eknath Shinde took the step of going against the party leadership as Sena MLAs, who faced "humilitation" for the last two-and-a-half years, persuaded him to do so. While the Shiv Sena legislators had no access to the chief minister, the Congress and NCP, which are the "real opponents" of the Sena, were getting all the attention, he claimed in the letter, dated June 22. The Sena shares power with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra. Shirsat, the MLA from Aurangabad (West) Assembly constituency, in the letter claimed that despite the Shiv Sena being in power and having its own chief minister, the coterie around Thackeray never allowed them access to 'Varsha', the CM's official residence. There was no question of going to 'Mantralaya', the state secretariat, because the chief minister never came there, he said. The letter was posted by Shinde on his Twitter handle, claiming these were the sentiments of the Sena MLAs. Shinde is currently camping with some rebel MLAs in Assam's Guwahati city, plunging the Sena-led Maharashtra government into a crisis. In the letter, Shirsat said Eknath Shinde opened doors for the party MLAs to listen to their grievances, issues about development work in their constituencies and related fund, and problems with allies Congress and NCP. "Only Shinde heard us out and took steps to resolve all the problems. The party MLAs persuaded Shinde to take this step (of revolt) for the rights of all the legislators," Shirsat said in the letter. While the Shiv Sena legislators had no access to the chief minister, the Congress and NCP, which are the "real opponents" of the Shiv Sena, were getting all the attention, he claimed. "The Shiv Sena votes did not split in the Rajya Sabha polls, then why so much distrust in us for the Legislative Council polls?" he asked. The Shiv Sena-led tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra was trumped by the BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls to six seats from the state on June 10, when the Sena's second candidate, Sanjay Pawar, lost to BJP's Dhananjay Mahadik. In the MLC polls to 10 seats held on June 20, the MVA again suffered a setback when it lost one out of the six seats it contested. The opposition BJP in the state won all the five seats which it had contested. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday night moved out of his official residence 'Varsha' in south Mumbai and shifted to Matoshree, the Thackeray family's private bungalow in suburban Bandra, amid high drama, as the Shiv Sena asserted he will not resign in the wake of rebellion by Shinde. Referring to the show of strength by Shiv Sainiks at 'Varsha' on Wednesday, Shirsat in the letter said, ''The doors of Varsha opened for the common people in the real sense yesterday. These doors were closed for us despite being the Shiv Sena MLAs." "The cotorie around you never allowed us access to you. Whenever we got a call from 'Varsha' that you would like to meet us, we were made to wait for several hours by your cotorie. They never took our calls...why should we be humiliated like this despite being elected by three to four lakh people?" the legislator sought to know. Shirsat also said the party MLAs were not allowed to accompany Maharashtra cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray (the CM's son) to Ayodhya (in Uttar Pradesh during his visit on June 15). ''Aren't Hindutva, Ram Mandir, Ayodhya Shiv Sena's core issues? Then why we were stopped from accompanying Aaditya Thackeray to Ayodhya?" he asked. The legislator further said he had checked in his luggage at the airport when he was told that the CM has said no MLA will accompany Aaditya Thackeray (on his Ayodhya visit). "The Shiv Sainiks at the grassroot would question us as to how our real opponents Congress and NCP get access to you and to the development funds despite the chief minister being ours," Shirsat said. "We would have a tough time answering our voters and workers why the Shiv Sena legislators were sidelined despite being in power. In all our tough times, Shinde stood by us, which is the reason we are with him today,'' he added.
Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari on Monday hinted at toppling of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state in 2024 after doing the same in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.The BJP leader’s controversial statement came in the backdrop of a political turmoil in Maharashtra where the alliance party government is struggling stay afloat following withdrawal of support from a section of MLAs.Addressing party workers in Cooch Behar district on Monday, Adhikari said, “It won’t have to be in 2026 (next state Assembly polls). The ouster will take place in 2024. Just wait a little more. We will oust this government in 2024. This has just begun in Maharashtra. Next it will take place in Jharkhand and Rajasthan. After Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Rajasthan, we will reach West Bengal.”His remarks did not go down well with the ruling dispensation in West Bengal with the Trinamool Congress slamming the BJP for its attempt to topple elected government in Opposition-ruled states.“This shows the BJP’s mindset when it comes to respecting democratic norms in the country. They want to grab power by any means and that’s what they have planned for all opposition-ruled states. But Suvendu Adhikari is living in a fool’s paradise. In 2024, the BJP will go out of power,” said TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh.
With the Supreme Court extending the deadline for them to file a response to disqualification notices, the Shiv Sena’s rebel group led by Eknath Shinde is learnt to be strategising to approach the Governor, informing him of their decision to withdraw support from the MVA, and thereby, prompting a floor test.Highly placed sources said, “The Shinde faction is likely to approach Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhawan, informing its decision to distance itself from Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.”Claiming to have 50 plus MLAs in its fold, Shinde camp’s decision to step out of MVA would raise a question on the numbers with Uddhav Thackeray led MVA government, which could find it difficult to prove its majority on the floor of the house if the rebel MLAs were to stick together, the sources added.The development has also sparked worries in the Sena with a senior leader pointing out: “While the Apex court has given two weeks’ time to the rebels to respond to disqualification notices served by deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal, our plea for disallowing floor test till July 11 was not considered.”Shinde camp’s confidence stems from its belief that it holds two-third majority in the Shiv Sena. At present, it is claiming support of 39 MLAs out of total 55 MLAs of the Sena. Besides, there are over 10 MLAs from smaller parties/independents with them. Their total support base has risen to over 50, the Shinde camp has claimed.The total strength of the state legislative assembly is 288 members, which has gone down to 287 with the death of Sena MLA Ramesh Latke last month. The halfway mark to form the government is 144.With Congress’s 44, NCP’s 53 and Sena’s 16 legislators, the aggregate strength of the allies stands at 111 — 33 short of the halfway mark. The number of independents/smaller parties adds up to 29 members, of which around 11 are with Shinde camp. Sources say that even if all the remaining 19 were to align with MVA, the figure still won’t cross 130.“Minus Shinde faction, MVA finds itself confronting the battle for survival in Maharashtra,” the source said.Expressing his happiness after the SC order, Shinde said, “It is a victory for Balasaheb’s Hindutva. We have always maintained that we have not walked out of Sena. Our fight is for the self respect of Sena.”Sources in the Shinde faction said, “A lot of deliberations are underway on the next course of action. We are still fighting for the rights to lead the Sena. With majority members with us, Shinde’s leadership in the party’s legislative assembly cannot be divested. We always wanted Sena to walk away from the Congress and the NCP.”Shinde’s son Shrikant alleged that the disqualification notice to his father and 15 MLAs were sent by the deputy speaker under pressure.Meanwhile, the BJP, which convened its core committee meeting at the residence of opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis on Monday, has decided to adopt “wait and watch” strategy. State BJP president Chandrakant Patil said, “What is happening is an internal matter of Shiv Sena. We are also closely monitoring the developments.”Another senior leader, Sudhir Mungantiwar, said, “Shinde group is still not considering itself separate from Shiv Sena. At the same time, they have the support of a majority of members. So, we need to see how the situation evolves.”
Mumbai: Even as the ED has summoned Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday in two money laundering cases, he said, “I just came to know that ED has summoned me,” He tweeted further, “Good! There are big political developments in Maharashtra. We, Balasaheb’s Shivsainiks, are fighting a big battle. This is a conspiracy to stop me. Even if you behead me, I won’t take the Guwahati route. Arrest me! Jai Hind!”Last week the agency registered a case where Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL)’s erstwhile promoters Kapil Wadhawan and his brother Dheeraj are accused of a Rs 34,615-crore loan fraud along with builder Sudhakar Shetty of Sahana group. The ED is in the process of taking custody of Pune businessman Avinash Bhosale for questioning in the same case. Agency sources said ED registered the DHFL money laundering case based on a CBI FIR and while examining documents collected during the investigation, found suspicious entries linked to Sanjay Raut.The second case in which Raut’s been called for questioning is related to a Rs 1,200-crore chawl redevelopment fraud involving the Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) group, its promoters Rakesh Wadhawan and son Sarang and Sanjay Raut’s associate Pravin Raut. HDIL subsidiary Guru Ashish Construction had taken over redevelopment of Goregaon’s Patra Chawl after entering into an agreement with the land owner Mhada (a state government agency) and residents of the structure. Pravin Raut was a shareholder in Guru Ashish who received Rs 50 crore after he exited the company. Pravin Raut also received Rs 45 crore from a land deal at Palghar from the HDIL group. Earlier, ED arrested had Pravin Raut and chargesheeted him after alleging that “Pravin Raut received Rs 112 crore between 2008 and 2010 from HDIL in multiple instalments. He failed to give valid reasons.”The ED suspects that Pravin Raut is a front for some influential persons including politicians. In April, the ED had attached a flat in Mumbai owned by Sanjay Raut’s wife Varsha and eight other land parcels jointly owned by her and another businessman’s wife in Alibaug, collectively valued at Rs 11 crore. ED had alleged that these properties were purchased through money diverted by Pravin Raut.Sanjay Raut did not comment on the ED’s allegations about his involvement.
MUMBAI: A week after the revolt began for control of Shiv Sena, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray on Monday stripped all nine ministers from rebel leader Eknath Shinde's camp of their portfolios. They will remain ministers but without portfolios. By now, of the 14 ministers in the Thackeray-led government, only four including the chief minister, are from Shiv Sena. The others are industries minister Subhash Desai, transport minister Anil Parab and environment minister Aaditya Thackeray. They have all got additional portfolios. Monday's Supreme Court verdict protecting the rebel Sena MLAs from disqualification proceedings till July 12 led to speculation about whether a floor test is imminent. "The government is in a minority. The chief minister should leave the MVA government and join BJP. Then there will be no need for a floor test," rebel MLA Deepak Kesarkar said. Sena's Aaditya Thackeray countered, "The rebels should come here, look into our eyes and tell us what we did wrong. That is our floor test." Congress member Balasaheb Thorat said, "No one has asked for a floor test. The CM has said 20 MLAs who are in Guwahati will back the government in the event of a trust vote." BJP's Sudhir Mungantiwar said the party will "wait and watch" and would consider such a proposal when it came. The cabinet reshuffle was prompted by concerns about work being held up. Also, by the onset of monsoon and the possibility of flooding or accidents, a press statement from Thackeray's office said. Under rule 6 of the rules of business, the chief minister has powers to re-allocate portfolio of a cabinet minister if he is not attending office since he is unwell or is not able to discharge duties. This is done to ensure works of public interest as well as routine work are not affected. Read AlsoEight ways to lose your political partyWhen politicians lose an election, they stand a chance of bouncing back in the next one. But what happens when they lose their party? It was initially decided to sack all nine rebel members, a bureaucrat said. But the Sena leadership dropped the proposal and decided to strip them of their portfolios. Meanwhile, rebel MLA Shamburaje Desai, who lost his junior minister portfolio, said, "We had no rights as junior ministers. The position was only in name. We were not able to get funds for our constituencies." Read AlsoDid Uddhav hear what BJP said about Shinde last summer?The Shiv Sena was casual about numerous signs of discontent brewing in the party. Was it over-confidence or power lulling a party into laziness?Security of Guwahati hotel housing rebel Sena MLAs tightened furtherSecurity inside and outside Radisson Blu hotel in Guwahati, where rebel Shiv Sena MLAs are camping, was upgraded to an impenetrable level on Monday, a day after the Centre provided Y+ category security cover of armed CRPF personnel to at least 15 of them, reports Prabin Kalita. Apart from a few top officers of Assam Police, a group of advocates were the only civilians allowed entry inside the hotel on Monday. In addition, crew members of several airlines that have agreements with the hotel were also allowed inside. Read AlsoWho owns brand Bal Thackeray: Saininks or the Thackerays?The rebel Shiv Sainiks led by Eknath Shinde have decided to call themselves Shiv Sena Balasaheb. This has opened a new front in their battle with Uddhav Thackeray – a brand warThe president of Shiv Sena unit in Manipur, M Tombi Singh, who had come to meet the rebel legislators, was stopped at the gates and then arrested after he was spotted talking to media outside the hotel gates. “I’ve come to talk to Eknath Shinde and tell him not to divide the party. Sena should remain as one party and we want the political crisis to end soon,” he said.
A number of city colleges, especially those having autonomous status, have spelt relief for students awaiting their Class 12 CBSE and ISC results as they are not following Mumbai University’s admissions schedule.Earlier, the university’s circular declaring admission schedule had caused concern as it had asked city colleges to begin admissions even as CBSE and ISC students awaited their results.At Mithibai and N M College in Vile Parle, admissions to professional or self-financed degree courses are based solely on students’ performance in entrance tests. While their ongoing tests will continue until June-end, results are expected by July 10 and the admissions shall commence only after that.“It is unfair to start admissions while all those who are eligible are not ready to apply,” said Dr Krutika Desai, principal of Mithibai College. Dr Desai said that with a few seats available in traditional courses, it would be better to wait for them to be filled by giving a fair chance to all board students. Dr Desai has also written to the varsity administration in the regard.Meanwhile, Mumbai University has completed its degree admission registration process. A total of 2,41,921 aspirants have confirmed their pre-enrolment registration with Mumbai University and a total of 6,45,228 applications have been received for different courses.At Jai Hind College, admissions will wait until all board results are out. “Along with entrance tests for admission to professional courses, we have 50 per cent weightage given to the marks obtained by students in board exams,” said Dr. Ashok Wadia, principal of the college.In case of St. Xavier’s College, seats will be kept reserved for students coming from ISC and CBSE boards. “Based on admission statistics from the past few years, a certain set of seats will be kept aside for students coming from non-state boards. This also includes other students from boards where the results are yet not declared,” said Dr Rajendra Shinde, principal of St Xavier’s College where the entrance test will be held on July 2. KC College and HR College too are likely to follow a similar process of keeping the seats reserved.