Uddhav Thackeray to chair meeting of Shiv Sena district chiefs amid Maharashtra political turmoil: Top developments

Times of India | 3 days ago | 24-06-2022 | 11:32 am

Uddhav Thackeray to chair meeting of Shiv Sena district chiefs amid Maharashtra political turmoil: Top developments

NEW DELHI: The scales seem to be tilting towards the Eknath Shinde faction in the tussle to control the Shiv Sena, with nearly 40 of the party's 55 MLA said to be rallying behind the rebel leader. Chief minister and Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray has vacated the official CM residence and moved to his family home. Shiv Sena on Friday called a meeting of the party leaders including district presidents and chief district coordinators as a confidence-building measure. The meeting will be chaired by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray at Shiv Sena Bhawan in Mumbai at 12 noon. These are the latest developments in the Maharashtra political saga: More Sena MLAs likely to reach Guwahati in support of ShindeEknath Shinde is appearing to be tightening his grip on the Shiv Sena, as the number of MLAs supporting him is expected to cross 50. More legislators are likely to reach Guwahati on Friday, thus further deepening the political crisis in Maharashtra. Sena MLA Dilip Londe is already said to have reached Guwahati on Friday morning. Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has filed a petition before the deputy speaker of the state assembly seeking the cancellation of membership of 12 rebel MLAs including Eknath Shinde for "not attending" the legislative party meeting held on Wednesday. Apart from Shinde, Shiv Sena has sought disqualification of Prakash Surve, Tanaji Sawant, Mahesh Shinde, Abdul Sattar, Sandeep Bhumare, Bharat Gogawale, Sanjay Shirsat, Yamini Yadhav, Anil Babar, Balaji Devdas and Lata Chaudhari. Shinde however dismissed the move to disqualify rebel Sena MLAs. "We have the numbers and in a democracy, numbers are important. Our side is strong and we have followed the law. They cannot take actions like disqualifying our MLAs. It goes against the law." 37 Sena MLAs declare Shinde as leader, write to Dy SpeakerAll 37 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who are camping in Guwahati, on Thursday sent a letter to Maharashtra deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal, stating that Eknath Shinde will remain their group leader in legislature. The letter also said that Sena MLA Bharat Gogawale has been appointed as the party's chief whip of the legislature party. Earlier in the day, Zirwal had said that he had approved the appointment of Ajay Chaudhary as the group leader of the Shiv Sena legislature party, replacing Shinde. A few days back, the Sena had removed Shinde as legislature party leader after he "rebelled." Maharashtra political crisis live updatesRebels will support MVA in floor test: Raut: Sena's Sanjay RautClaiming of being in touch with 20 MLAs from the Eknath Shinde camp in Guwahati, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday said that everyone will see when the floor test happens, adding that those who leave party under pressure from ED are not real followers of Balasaheb Thackeray. "About 20 MLAs are in touch with us...when they come to Mumbai, you will get to know...will soon be revealed, in what circumstances, pressure these MLAs left us," said Raut. Raut on Friday admitted that the party's numbers in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly have dwindled, but expressed confidence that the rebel MLAs will support the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) combine during the floor test, saying that "figures can change any time". He said the rebel MLAs will face the real test of their loyalty towards the party when they return to Mumbai. In a veiled warning, Raut said "Eknath Shinde faction that's challenging us must realise that Shiv Sena workers are yet to come on the roads. Such battles are fought either through law or on the roads. If need be then our workers would come on the roads." BJP behind political instability, says Congress' Prithviraj Chavan"BJP is behind the political instability that we are witnessing in Maharashtra. It is true that there is some crack in big ally Shiv Sena and some MLAs have parted ways. But the BJP is behind such a situation. Devendra Fadnavis is taking instructions from Delhi and seeking logistical support accordingly. He is trying his best to keep the government unstable," the Congress leader alleged. "We had anticipated that the BJP would try something like this before the BMC elections which is very crucial for it and wants to win desperately. So it is adhering to all tactics including the misuse of the central agencies," he said. 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 IndiaA Union minister however dismissed allegations of BJP trying to destablise the government in Maharshtra. "No Central minister is giving threats. BJP is not trying to destabilise the government. This is an internal matter of the Shiv Sena. BJP is only in wait and watch position," sais MoS Railways Raosaheb Patil Danve. Cong, NCP trying to eliminate Shiv Sena: Rebel MLA ShirsatRebel Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Shirsat claimed that both Congress and NCP are trying to eliminate Shiv Sena politically from Maharashtra and the MLAs made several attempts to inform chief minister Uddhav Thackeray about the "malafide intentions" of alliance partners. In a video message, Shirsat said Sanjay Shirsath said, "Yesterday, we all watched the video conference address by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. We listened to his opinions and thoughts. We felt bad. We had never imagined that Uddhav Saheb will become so emotional in such a situation. But, there are reasons behind what has happened. This has not happened overnight. This is not a miracle that happened within a day. Many times in the past, all these MLAs informed Uddhav Saheb that whether it is Congress or NCP, both are trying to eliminate Shiv Sena." He also added that MLAs have also tried to inform the Chief Minister that people are trying to destroy Shiv Sena.

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SC order paves way for a floor test, say experts
Times of India | 4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 06:42 am
Times of India
4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 06:42 am

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court order extending till July 12, 5.30 pm, the time granted by the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly to Eknath Shinde and other 'rebel' MLAs to reply to disqualification notices, paves the way for a "very definite possibility" of a floor test to prove the confidence of the Assembly, said legal experts on Monday. Given that there is no stay on such action, the entire sequence of events now points in the direction of a floor test, which could be the only way out of the impasse in the next two weeks, said experts. "There will be no disqualification till then and they are theoretically entitled to having a floor test,'' said senior counsel Vineet Naik. The SC vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala did orally allow Maharashtra state to knock on its doors in case a no-confidence motion is sought by the 'rebel' MLAs to verify the MVA's numbers in the legislature.Senior counsel Prasad Dhakephalkar said the Maharashtra governor can legally promulgate a Session of the House and direct a floor test be held. The process would then kick in and the State's legal team can immediately rush to the SC and seek an urgent hearing to try and stall it since the apex court is seized of the matter filed by the 'rebel' MLAs. Even if the motion does go ahead, the affected parties can challenge its outcome later. However, in the House during a vote for no-confidence, "there can be no concept of disqualification at that time,'' said a senior advocate from Delhi. But Dhakephalkar said if a motion is called for and a whip issued for members to vote, disobedience in the show of hands may incur consequences and pave way for notice of disqualification. With Shinde camp saying it constitutes a majority of the Shiv Sena Legislative Party, it may issue its own whip. Any disobedience of the whip may entail a disqualification petition, but then the ball may lie in the Speaker's court-and who the Speaker would be will depend on the outcome of the floor test. If the government remains, the Speaker will remain and if the Government falls the Speaker would change. "If a floor test were to be held, Shiv Sena would in all probability issue a whip to vote in favor of the Deputy Speaker. If the rebel MLAs were to defy this whip and avoid being disqualified, they would have to be 37 in number on the day of the voting or merge with the BJP or float a new political party, for which permission would be required to be sought from the Election Commission,'' said Naik. Rahul Chitnis, a counsel appearing on behalf of the State Government, informed the court that adequate steps have been taken and will be taken to protect the 39 dissident Sena MLAs and their families. "With this assurance by the State Government, which includes all three parties from MVA, it would be safe to assume that the 39 MLAs who are camping out of State can or may return to Mumbai,'' said Naik.

SC order paves way for a floor test, say experts
Blow to MVA: Can’t disqualify rebel MLAs till July 12, says SC
Times of India | 4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 06:37 am
Times of India
4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 06:37 am

NEW DELHI: In a serious setback to the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court on Monday protected rebel Sena MLAs from disqualification proceedings till July 12, directed the ruling coalition to ensure their safety in Maharashtra and, importantly, refused the Sena-NCP-Congress coalition's request to stop the Eknathrao S Shinde-led rebels from demanding a floor test in the assembly. Shinde tweeted on the SC order, "This is the victory of Balasaheb Thackeray and Anand Dighe's thoughts." हा वंदनीय हिंदुहृदयसम्राट शिवसेनाप्रमुख बाळासाहेब ठाकरे यांच्या हिंदुत्वाचा आणि धर्मवीर आनंद दिघे साहेबांच्या विचा… https://t.co/FPRiQJL8ux— Eknath Shinde - एकनाथ शिंदे (@mieknathshinde) 1656329992000A string of senior advocates - A M Singhvi, Rajeev Dhavan and Devadatt Kamat - made strenuous attempts on behalf of MVA and the deputy speaker to persuade a vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala not to interfere in the disqualification proceedings against 15 of the 39 rebel Sena MLAs supporting Shinde, saying it fell in the exclusive domain of the speaker. When the effort did not work, Kamat tried to stop the likely effort to bring out CM Thackeray's diminished support by requesting that if the disqualification proceedings, which were to commence after the end of deadline for the 15 rebel MLAs at 5.30pm on Monday to present themselves before the deputy speaker, are being deferred, then the status quo as of Monday be maintained and there should be no demand from the rebels for a floor test. MVA govt trying to avoid floor test: Shinde's lawyerShinde's counsel Neeraj Kishan Kaul promptly said "now the cat is out of the bag" and that the minority MVA government wants to avoid a floor test. The bench told Kamat that passing a restraint order on a floor test would give rise to unnecessary complications but told him the MVA was free to move court if any illegalities were committed. Kaul argued that as per a Constitution bench judgment of the SC in Nabam Rebia case, a speaker or deputy speaker facing motion of removal is prohibited from initiating disqualification proceedings against any MLA. He said the rebel MLAs had given notice on June 21 seeking removal of deputy speaker (Narhari Zirwal of NCP). Disqualification proceedings initiated against the rebel Sena MLAs is a counter manoeuver, he alleged. Kaul's argument found favour with the Supreme Court vacation bench headed by Justice Kant and submissions of Singhvi, Dhavan and Kamat failed to counter it. The bench asked Dhavan whether the deputy speaker would defer disqualification proceedings against the rebel MLAs till notice for his removal is decided by the House. But Dhavan insisted the rebel MLAs must present themselves before the deputy speaker on Monday itself to respond to disqualification notices. This made the bench pass the interim order deferring disqualification proceedings under the anti-defection law.

Blow to MVA: Can’t disqualify rebel MLAs till July 12, says SC
4-Storey Building Collapses In Mumbai, 7 Rescued: Official
Ndtv | 5 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 06:06 am
Ndtv
5 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 06:06 am

Mumbai Building Collapsed: 7 people have been rescued from the rubble of the building.Mumbai: A four-storey building collapsed in Naik Nagar of Maharashtra's Mumbai on Monday late night, informed the civil body official adding that the rescue operation is on.The fire brigade and police team reached the spot to rescue the trapped people from the debris."A 4-storey building collapses in Naik Nagar. Fire brigade team, and police at the spot as the rescue operation continues," Pravina Morajkar, Corporator told media persons here.According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), seven people have been rescued from under the debris and are now in stable condition."Seven people rescued from under debris are in stable condition; 20 to 25 are likely to be trapped under the debris. Rescue operation on," the Corporator added.In another incident, a man died and 19 people were injured after a multi-storey building collapsed at Shastri Nagar in Maharashtra's Bandra West a few days ago.The man has been identified as Shahnawaz Alam, a 40-year-old man.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com"The building collapsed around 12.15 am. One person has died and 19 are hospitalised and are now safe. All of them are labourers from Bihar. The fire brigade and officers are present at the spot," Manjunath Singe, DCP Mumbai Police told media persons.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

4-Storey Building Collapses In Mumbai, 7 Rescued: Official
The 2/3rds rule in anti-defection law
The Indian Express | 5 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 05:45 am
The Indian Express
5 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 05:45 am

The political crisis in Maharashtra has given rise to the question whether the Shiv Sena rebels can avoid disqualification under the anti-defection law.Law and exceptionUnder the anti-defection law, a member of a legislature can be disqualified if he or she has voluntarily given up membership of their political party; and if he/she votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction issued by their party (or by any person or authority authorised by the party).There is a provision to protect such legislators from disqualification. If two-thirds of the members agree to a merger with another party, they will not be disqualified. Under the 91st Amendment to the Constitution in 2003, the exemption from disqualification if one-third of the members form a separate group (the rule prior to the amendment) was removed.How courts have ruledIn February this year, the High Court of Bombay at Goa held that 10 Congress MLAs and two two MGP MLAs, who had defected to the BJP in 2019, are exempted from disqualification and held that a merger of this group of Congress MLAs is “deemed to be a merger” of the original political party with the BJP (Girish Chodankar v Speaker, Goa Legislative Assembly).In Rajendra Singh Rana v Swami Prasad Maurya (2007), a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court interpreted the term “voluntarily giving up membership of a political party”, and held that “a person may be said to have voluntarily given up membership of an original party even though he or she has not tendered resignation from membership of the party” and that an inference can be drawn from conduct of the member.The two-thirds ruleSome experts believe that even if two-thirds of legislators have broken away, they will be protected from disqualification only if they merge with another party or become a separate group in the legislature.Senior advocate Devdatt Kamat, representing Shiv Sena, said that until the MLAs rebel camp merges with another party, disqualification under the anti-defection law will still apply to them. He said there are court judgements including in the Ravi Naik case (1994) in the Supreme Court which held this view.Senior advocate Shrihari Aney, a former Advocate General of Maharashtra, said there are debatable positions about the anti-defection law. “Various courts have passed verdicts as per specific facts of the case and I am of the view that the Eknath Shinde faction has already crossed the two-thirds mark and thus they cannot be subjected under this law and they are protected from the anti-defection law. They are entitled to be identified as a separate group or a ‘gat’ in the house and to participate in the proceedings.”Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxDisqualification noticesAnother issue that has arisen is whether the disqualification notices served on 16 rebel MLAs can stand the scrutiny of law. Experts said that as per the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on grounds of Defection) Rules and other stipulations, the Deputy Speaker’s decision cannot be upheld.Aney said, “In my opinion, the notices disqualifying some MLAs are void ab initio. The orders are premised on the ground that these MLAs did not attend the official meeting and did not adhere to the whip. But, a whip is limited only to the business of the legislature… Here it was for a meeting called by their president Uddhav Thackeray.”

The 2/3rds rule in anti-defection law