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In setback for Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Speaker picks Eknath Shinde faction as real Shiv Sena Sena vs Sena
In images (L-R): Uddhav Thackeray & Eknath Shinde/ Both images taken from their Facebook pages

In setback for Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Speaker picks Eknath Shinde faction as real Shiv Sena

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 10 Jan 2024, 10:00 pm

Mumbai/IBNS: In a jolt to former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar Wednesday ruled that the current CM Eknath Shinde-led faction is the real Shiv Sena.

Narwekar also ruled that Bharat Gogawale is the whip of the Shiv Sena and not Sunil Prabhu, who is part of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) team- as he had "ceased to reflect the will of the party" when two factions emerged.

While announcing the results in what is being called the disqualification case of Shiv Sena MLAs, including the Chief Minister, Narvekar said that a party is decided based on the majority, and in this case, the Shinde group has the majority.

Narvekar decided that the Shiv Sena party chief could not remove the group leader from the post.

MLAs who are not in touch or contact cannot be disqualified on this ground alone. Moreover, it was proved that Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak of Thackeray group met Eknath Shinde in Surat.

Rahul Narvekar observed that since it has been proved that the real party belongs to Shinde during the transfer of power, the issue of non-attendance in the Shiv Sena Legislature Party meeting on June 21 last year cannot lead to disqualification.

Giving supreme power to the party chief is harmful to democracy. If this happens, no one in the party will be able to speak against the party leader, said the Speaker. In the Shiv Sena Constitution, the decision of the National Executive is final, he said.

There is also a discrepancy in the claim submitted by the Uddhav Thackeray group to the Election Commission, he said

On one hand, they say that the party meeting was held at Sena Bhavan, on the other hand they say that the same meeting was held online. So their documents are confusing, observed Narvekar.

The Supreme Court had initially set a deadline of Dec 31, 2023, for the Speaker to decide the petitions under the tenth schedule of the Constitution.

The court later extended the deadline to Jan 10, 2024.

What is the issue?

On June 21, 2022, Eknath Shinde, a cabinet minister in the Maharashtra Government from the Shiv Sena party, rebelled against then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Soon after the rebellion, Uddhav's faction passed a resolution that removed Shinde as leader of the legislature party. Uddhav loyalist MLA Sunil Prabhu was appointed the chief whip of the party.

However, the same day Shinde's faction passed another resolution claiming he would continue to lead the legislature party and appointed Bharatshet Gogawale as the party's chief whip.

The speaker accepted Shinde's resolution on July 3, 2022.

This led to the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi Government in Maharashtra, an ally of the Shiv Sena UBT, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Congress.

Uddhav Thackeray resigned as Chief Minister on June 29, 2022, and Eknath Shinde took oath in his place.

However, disqualification pleas were filed before the Speaker against Shinde and 15 other MLAs who rebelled with him after the Sena split.

The Uddhav Thackeray faction alleged that Shinde and others deliberately failed to attend the meeting convened by the party's whip, Sunil Prabhu.

The second set of disqualification petitions was filed on June 27, 2022, against more Shinde-faction MLAs. In total, petitions were filed against 40 MLAs.

As a counterattack, Eknath Shinde's faction filed petitions seeking the disqualification of 14 Shiv Sena MLAs remaining in the Uddhav Thackeray faction.

Both sides approached the Supreme Court against the disqualification petitions.

From Feb 21, the apex court started hearing the matter on merits. In its verdict on May 11, 2023, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held the decision of the Governor to order the floor test for the Maha Vikas Aghadi government as well as the Speaker's decision to appoint the whip nominated by the Shinde group was incorrect.

However, the SC said the Speaker must rely on the original constitution of the Shiv Sena party to decide on the disqualification petitions filed by both factions.

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