Times of India | 3 days ago | 22-06-2022 | 06:24 am
MUMBAI: NCP President Sharad Pawar, the architect of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi government, on Tuesday described Eknath Shinde’s rebellion as the third attempt to dislodge the government in the state which was formed in November 2019. Pawar, at least in public, did not attach much importance to the prospect of a revolt within the Shiv Sena, calling it an “internal problem” of the party which would not constitute a threat to the MVA regime’s stability. The NCP chief’s comments recalling what happened in the build-up to government formation pertain to his own party. After a series of meetings among constituents of the MVA at a time when the process of forming the government had entered the final stages, a section of NCP legislators had gone missing. Congress had shifted all its 44 MLAs to Jaipur while Shiv Sena and NCP legislators were camping in Mumbai. However, the whereabouts of six NCP legislators remained a mystery. They were later tracked down to a hotel near Delhi. They were escorted back to Mumbai by NCP activists and law enforcing agencies. Another attempt was made barely a few days before the formation of the government when the NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress formalized an alliance. While the date of the swearing-in was yet to be announced, the BJP tried to pull off a coup with Devendra Fadnavis staking claim as the leader of the single largest party. He was sworn in chief minister in an unexpected, unscheduled early morning ceremony by the governor, with Ajit Pawar joining him as deputy chief minister. However, this arrangement lasted merely days; Fadnavis realized that while he had taken the initiative, he was unable to cobble up the required numbers –NCP held together with Ajit Pawar falling in line with the party diktat. Fadnavis was forced to return to Raj Bhavan and hand over his resignation to governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. Since then, BJP leaders including union minister Narayan Rane, Chandrakant Patil and Kirit Somaiya have predicted the dismissal of the MVA government on several occasions. ``Rane had given several dates saying the MVA government will be dismissed soon. Even Chandrakant Patil and Somaiya said it, but it never happened,’’ a Congress leader said.
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: The political drama unfolding in Maharashtra now has legal experts divided too on whether disqualification can be sought for the ‘rebels’ in the 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. The 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’. A senior counsel from Delhi said the party may be relying on a 2019 Supreme Court judgment in a Karnataka case to argue that the actions of the MLAs would “portray defection.” The Sena plea is that at a “crucial time” during “political uncertainty” when the party needed to consolidate, meetings were called on June 21-22 and despite issuing notices, these MLAs did not attend and instead left for Surat and Guwahati which are in BJP-ruled States. The plea said the BJP, in a conspiracy with these MLAs, is trying to topple the govt and in these circumstances, their not attending the meetings amounted to voluntarily giving up membership of the party; remaining incommunicado and not responding to the call of the leadership also shows that they have given up membership and hence they should be disqualified, it said. However, former attorney general S G Aney said the disqualification process would be “void” legally as not attending the meetings would not amount to quitting the party. Lack of attendance at meetings “cannot be taken into the realm of legislature’s action and the Speaker has no authority over the matter. At best it would be a matter for the party’s internal consideration for consequences on such unbecoming behavior,” said Aney. Anil Sakhare, a senior counsel, also agreed that at this juncture it may not attract disqualification. Senior counsel Prasad Dhakephalkar said the situation is “very fluid’’ but if by their conduct it can be shown that they have left the party, then it may attract disqualification. “But rebels can claim merger,” he added. To overcome any threat of disqualification they have to show 2/3rd members of a party have merged with another party. Under the 10th Schedule paragraph 4, disqualification on grounds of defection would not apply in case of a merger with another party. “It will eventually depend on the facts which at the moment are not all clear,’’ said another senior counsel from Delhi. He added, “At this stage prima facie, there can be no disqualifications since not attending the meeting does not amount to voluntarily giving up the membership of the party. It would depend on the explanation that the member may give. A party cannot single out a few members if there is support of two-third members in the rebel faction. The Karnataka case was different on facts.”
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.
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.