"You Merge With BJP; We Will Rebuild Sena": Thackerays' Loyalist To Rebels

Ndtv | 3 days ago | 23-06-2022 | 03:04 pm

"You Merge With BJP; We Will Rebuild Sena": Thackerays' Loyalist To Rebels

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut spoke to NDTV about the political crisis in Maharashtra.Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's loyalist and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Thursday challenged the party's rebel camp led by Eknath Shinde to a floor test in the assembly, while also telling them that their chance to return to the Sena is not lost. On their demand that Shiv Sena should break up with the NCP and Congress to form a government with the BJP, the Rajya Sabha member said, "You (the rebels) should merge with the BJP. Shiv Sena remains our party."  The Shiv Sena-led regime is on the verge of a collapse as the rebel camp is gathering the numbers required to split the party without facing action under the anti-defection law.Speaking to NDTV, Mr Raut responded combatively to the question if Uddhav Thackeray will remain the chief minister: "Let all the MLAs come to the floor of the House. We will see then. These MLAs who have left... they will find it difficult to return and move around in Maharashtra."On whether talks were still on with the rebels, Mr Raut said, "They are all our friends... We don't know what their compulsions are. The party and the state are with Uddhav Thackeray. Just because some MLAs have left does not mean the party is gone."  "In the times of Balasaheb Thackeray, too, a lot of people left the party," he said, referring to Uddhav Thackeray's father, party founder Bal Thackeray. "We rebuilt the party and brought it to power then too. And now this is an open challenge from Uddhav ji and me, that we will rebuild the party again; and we will again come to power."He also responded to the Shinde camp's allegations that the chief minister's house 'Varsha' remained out of bounds for party legislators: "These are just excuses. For a year there were Covid restrictions; and then Chief Minister Thackeray was unwell for six months."Mr Raut said Eknath Shinde was part of every decision in the party and the government. "In the party and the state cabinet, he was given important posts so that he would keep the leaders and workers together. Uddhav-ji or he alone could not do everything; it was a collective responsibility. Instead of doing his duty, he created a division in the party."PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comHe said he would reiterate Mr Thackeray's stance that "whoever wants to leave, can leave, but go and win the election again". "This land belongs to Shiv Sena and Balasaheb... We will rise again like the phoenix and soar. We have seen several struggles in the last 56 years. What's the worst that can happen?""Maybe we will lose the government, lose power, lose ministerial posts — what else can happen in politics? You will misuse the ED (Enforcement Directorate) and CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) against us, put us in jail... what more? Will you shoot us? We have seen everything and we fear nothing," Mr Raut said.

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Political crisis casts shadow over appointment of new Mumbai police chief
The Indian Express | 25 minutes ago | 27-06-2022 | 12:45 am
The Indian Express
25 minutes ago | 27-06-2022 | 12:45 am

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.

Political crisis casts shadow over appointment of new Mumbai police chief
Mumbai confidential: Last-minute packing
The Indian Express | 25 minutes ago | 27-06-2022 | 12:45 am
The Indian Express
25 minutes ago | 27-06-2022 | 12:45 am

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 confidential: Last-minute packing
Maharashtra Crisis: What Happened So Far
India | 1 hour ago | 27-06-2022 | 12:05 am
India
1 hour ago | 27-06-2022 | 12:05 am

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.”

Maharashtra Crisis: What Happened So Far
The crisis in Maharashtra shows the anti-defection law to be ineffective, even counterproductive
The Indian Express | 2 hours ago | 26-06-2022 | 10:45 pm
The Indian Express
2 hours ago | 26-06-2022 | 10:45 pm

The political crisis in Maharashtra has brought focus back on the anti-defection law. By all accounts, the law has failed to shore up the stability of elected governments. Not only have many governments fallen due to defections in recent times, but the defectors have not suffered any cautionary consequences. There are many ways to thwart provisions of the law: the Speaker can sit on the defection pleas for the term of the assembly; the beneficiary party can facilitate accretion of defectors through money and investigative agencies to hit the magic two-thirds threshold. The voters don’t seem to care about punishing the defectors either – 11 out of the 14 defectors who stood for re-election in the 2019 Karnataka bypolls won on the BJP ticket. Some have thus argued that the way forward is to amend the anti-defection law to fill these lacunae by mandating time-bound decisions by the Speaker and disqualifying defectors from standing for the next election as well. These proposed amendments like the original law want to consolidate power without necessarily putting in the requisite politics. They may thus help consolidate the leadership’s intra-party power but the underlying aversion to ongoing politics leaves them vulnerable to bigger external powers.First, it should be obvious that the practice of politics is too wide for any institutional process to fully capture. Politicians are adept at subverting institutional processes for their own ends and there are many possibilities for payoff for defectors outside of elected office alone. Moreover, politics has a rich history of exercise of power by proxy and the disqualified representative may simply choose to have a family member stand in their stead. It thus seems unlikely that these amendments can plug the gap in any substantive manner, especially if the defections have been engineered by the threat of investigative agencies. The anti-defection law and proposed amendments approach the issue of defections from the prism of denying power to the defector, a framing which repeatedly comes up short in the face of a bigger and/or more punitive power. Beleaguered parties may denounce the BJP but in the absence of mobilization of public opinion, these condemnations have at best rhetorical value, moving neither the BJP nor the defectors.Within this framework, if political parties want to resist defections, they must be able to project (imminent) power themselves. At the same time, political parties must address organizational and ideological infirmities which have made them susceptible to mass defections in the first place. There are only about 4000 MLAs in a country with a population of almost 1.4 billion people. However, political parties tasked with representing the aspirations of crores of people are unable to find candidates who take themselves seriously enough to not cross over to political opponents. In fact the bar is so low that the MLAs have to be physically corralled and phones confiscated to ensure alignment with the Party stand. This is not apolitical outrage but has pragmatic organizational value. It is one thing for a few individuals to be susceptible to threats and inducement, another for the organization to be vulnerable to mass defections. Individuals can be faulted in the former but the latter calls for urgent introspective and corrective measures at the level of the leadership.Two measures with both short-term and long-term implications come to mind. First, political parties need ideological clarity and the ability to attract individuals with a sense of purpose and not love for power alone. This ideological depth if reflected in the party organization and its political programs will give members the ability to withstand lean periods of power. Every party has committed individuals; internal party processes must be geared to identify and promote them into leadership positions. This ties into the second issue. Multiple analyses have attributed the political crisis in Maharashtra in part to Shiv Sena’s inability to accommodate the aspirations of its dissident MLAs. The rebel MLAs on their part have spoken of the Chief Minister’s inaccessibility. The MLAs may be opportunistic but there is no question that political parties are failing to create intra-party forums where grievances can be expressed and resolved on an ongoing basis. Internal mechanisms for inner-party democracy – from elections to deliberative forums – are ultimately at the discretion of the party leadership. Scrapping the anti-defection law would provide some institutional leverage to express intra-party dissidence and while it may be more chaotic in the short-term would lead to greater stability and political strength in the long-term.Finally, two fundamental questions. In trying to legislate political affiliation – a key freedom in democracy – political parties are repeatedly giving primacy to legal instead of political battles since these issues inevitably end up in court. This repeated ceding of political power to the judiciary is a serious deviation from the democratic paradigm and must be checked. Second, the anti-defection law has undermined not just the very principle of representation but has also contributed to polarization in our country by making it impossible to construct a majority on any issue outside of party affiliation. Instead of providing stability, the law has undermined our democracy. It is time to scrap the anti-defection law.The writer executive director of the Future of India Foundation

The crisis in Maharashtra shows the anti-defection law to be ineffective, even counterproductive