Maharashtra crisis: 37 MLAs support Eknath Shinde as Sena leader in signed letter to Guv
Mumbai/IBNS: A total of 37 Shiv Sena MLAs have signed a letter addressed to the Maharashtra Governor and Deputy Speaker confirming their support for Eknath Shinde to be appointed as the leader of the legislature party, sidelining Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
In the letter, Shinde has also requested the appointment of Bharatshet Gogawale as the chief whip of the party.
The move comes shortly after team Uddav Thackeray filed disqualification applications for 12 rebels with the Deputy Speaker, which may help tweak the numbers in the Assembly in case of a trust vote.
In response, Shinde has argued that the application is illegal.
"Who are you trying to scare? We know your make-up and the law too! According to the 10th Schedule to the Constitution (Schedule) the whip is for assembly work, not for meeting. There are numerous Supreme Court decisions in this regard," tweeted Eknath Shinde.
Only 13 MLAs came for a meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday, while, Shinde in a video earlier claimed that he has the support of at least 42 MLAs camping at a hotel in Assam's Guwahati.
Shinde has already reached the critical number of MLAs, 37, required to split the party in the assembly without falling foul of the anti-defection law. His total strength is now 42. Two more MLAs, Dada Bhuse and Sanjay Rathore and one MLC, Ravibdra Fathak, arrived in Guwahati this evening.
Earlier in the day, the Shiv Sena said it would consider exiting the Maharashtra alliance with Sharad Pawar's NCP and Congress but only if the rebels return "in 24 hours".
Both Congress and NCP said they would continue to support Uddhav Thackeray.
On Wednesday, the two allies also proposed to make Eknath Shinde the new chief minister of Maharashtra to prevent the fall of their Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
The BJP has denied the accusation of engineering the political crisis in Maharashtra.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma earlier in the evening denied that he has got anything to do with this even as media reports claimed that he has emerged as a key figure in the Maharashtra political crisis.
"There are many good hotels in Assam, anyone can come there and stay...there is no issue with it. I don't know if Maharashtra MLAs are staying in Assam. MLAs of other states can also come and stay in Assam," Sarma told news agency ANI on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday expressed confidence that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra would survive the storm.
"A floor test will decide who has the majority," Pawar, who played a key role in forming the MVA, told reporters this evening.