Eknath Shinde Reaches Crucial Number of 37 Shiv Sena MLAs Needed To Split Party
If Eknath Shinde can get the rebel MLAs to move to the BJP, he could topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
As political turmoil continues to grip the Maharashtra government, all 37 Shiv Sena rebel MLAs in Guwahati on Thursday, 23 June, said in a letter to deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal that Eknath Shinde would remain their group leader in the legislature.
The letter was signed by 36 Sena MLAs who are currently with Shinde in Guwahati.
Shinde has at least 36 Sena legislators with him in Assam, taking the total number of rebel Sena MLAs to 37. This is the crucial two-thirds majority of the party’s strength in the legislature, required to split the Sena without falling afoul of the anti-defection law.
Meanwhile, in an interview with NDTV, Shinde claimed that 40 Sena MLAs were with him, taking the tally to 50, including 10 Independents.
On Wednesday, Shinde also submitted a letter to the Assembly's deputy speaker, then signed by 35 Sena MLAs, replacing Sunil Prabhu with Bharat Gogavale as the chief whip of the Shiv Sena legislature party.
Since then, two more MLAs, Dada Bhuse and Sanjay Rathore, and one MLC, Ravindra Phatak, have joined his camp in Guwahati.
'Who Are You Trying To Threaten?' Shinde on Disqualification Attempt
Reacting to the Sena seeking disqualification of 12 MLAs, Shinde tweeted on Thursday, "You cannot scare us by giving the names of 12 MLAs for disqualification because we are followers of the Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray. We know the law, so we do not pay heed to threats."
Shinde and his son were on the list of 12 MLAs.
He added in Marathi, "We know your ways and the law too! According to Schedule 10 of the Constitution, the whip is used for Assembly work, not for meetings.
Shinde was lashing out against those asking for action against the rebel MLAs for skipping the 5 pm meeting at the CM's residence 'Varsha', stating that a whip was applicable only against legislative events.
Shiv Sena's Chief Whip, Sunil Prabhu, had issued a letter saying that not attending the meeting would invoke disqualification.
Disqualification Attempt Meant To Buy Sena More Time
The power to disqualify MLAs is vested in the speaker and not the party. When the rebels did not attend the meeting, Shiv Sena, in a complaint with the deputy speaker, asked him to begin disqualification proceedings.
The Sena had cited the anti-defection law, claiming anti-party activities.
This was expected to buy the Sena more time since regulations mandate that the deputy speaker is required to first address a disqualification attempt by the chief minister before anything from Shinde and his rebel camp.
(With inputs from PTI and NDTV.)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.