As many as 53 Shiv Sena MLAs – 39 from Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde camp and 14 from Uddhav Thackeray camp – have been served show-cause notices by Maharashtra Legislature Principal Secretary Rajendra Baghwat on Sunday, 10 July, under the rules of Members of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly (disqualification on grounds of defection).
Shiv Sena has a total of 55 MLAs in the Assembly. The MLAs have been given one week's time to explain their stand, reported news agency PTI.
MLAs of both factions have accused each other of defying the party whip during the election of the speaker and the trust vote, held on 3 and 4 July, and had sought each others' disqualification.
On the day of the floor test on 4 July, Santosh Bangar, one of the 14 MLAs from the Thackeray camp had defected to the Shinde camp.
Shinde's group left out the name of former CM Uddhav Thackeray's son, Aaditya Thackeray, from the list of MLAs against whom they had sought disqualification.
'Nothing Illegal About Issuing Disqualification Notices': Maharashtra Deputy Speaker to SC
Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker of Maharashtra told the Supreme Court on Sunday, that there was no illegality in granting the dissenting MLAs 48 hours to respond to their disqualification notices.
Responding to the matter, as to the affidavit filed by rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde challenging the disqualification notices, the deputy Speaker gave his clarification to the apex court.
The deputy speaker was quoted as saying, "First of all 48 hours notice was given in the first instance. The Petitioner never approached me and sought time. That apart, this Hon'ble Court in Shrimant Balasaheb apart from holding that the timeline for filing of reply is purely discretionary, has categorically also held that the number of days is immaterial and what matters is whether the respondent have been given sufficient and reasonable time to file their replies," LiveLaw reported.
In the 288-member Assembly, Shiva Sena has 55 MLAs – the Shinde camp has 39 MLAs whereas the Thackeray group has 16 MLAs. While the Nationalist Congress Party has 53 MLAs, Congress has 44 and the BJP has 106 members in the Assembly.
The Assembly strength had reduced by one due to the death of a Sena legislator.
The new Eknath Shinde-led BJP government had on Monday, 4 July, proved its majority in the Assembly floor test and crossed the midway mark (144) after getting 164 votes in their favour. A total of 99 votes were cast against it.
Following this, Bharat Gogawale, the newly appointed chief whip of Shiv Sena from the rebel faction, gave a petition to the Assembly speaker for the suspension of 14 MLAs of the party (from the Uddhav Thackeray faction) for violating the whip's directions.
Ahead of the floor test on Sunday, 3 July, BJP MLA Rahul Narvekar was elected as speaker in the Maharashtra Assembly. The post had been lying vacant since Nana Patole of the Congress party resigned in February 2021. He was elected with 164 votes.