As the Rebel camp led by Maharashtra Minister Eknath Shinde prepares to return to Mumbai for the Floor test tomorrow, the BJP has planned a massive show of strength near the International airport on Thursday (June 30). Sources informed Republic TV that BJP will be on the ground to counter if Shiv Sena threatens these rebel MLAs. It is pertinent to mention here that the Eknath Shinde-led rebel camp MLAs will fly to Goa on June 29 and from there, they will head to Mumbai on June 30 ahead of the floor test. The member of the rebel Shiv Sena group claimed that they have 39 Shiv Sena MLAs and 11 independent MLAs with them.
Floor test on June 30
Notably, this development comes following the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis meeting Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Tuesday, asking him to convene a floor test.
The former Chief Minister submitted a letter to Koshyari, urging him to ask the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra to prove its majority in the 288-member Assembly. Fadnavis claimed that the ruling MVA coalition seemed to be in the minority as a majority of the Sena MLAs are “on the verge of ending the alliance. Soon after this, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari ordered a floor test to be held on June 30.
Meanwhile crying foul over the Governor’s floor test directive, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut remarked, “The Governor was waiting for this moment only. SC has said you can come to court. This is unlawful and Governor is disobeying laws”. He also mentioned that the MVA will move the Supreme Court against the floor test directive.
Political turmoil in Shiv Sena
On June 21, senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and multiple other party MLAs went incommunicado and were later located at the Le Meridian hotel in Gujarat’s Surat. This came in the wake of several Sena MLAs cross-voting for BJP in the MLC polls. Subsequently, Shinde was replaced as the Legislative Party leader by MLA Ajay Choudhari – an indication that the Sena was unwilling to accept any demands of the rebels. The problem compounded for the MVA as the rebel MLAs moved to Guwahati in the wee hours of June 22.
In a Facebook Live session thereafter, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray offered to resign provided even one Shiv Sena MLA came back to Mumbai and made such a demand face-to-face. Despite this emotional appeal, the strength of the rebel camp swelled to 39 Shiv Sena MLAs, 2 Prahar Janshakti Party and 7 Independents.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena sought the disqualification of 16 MLAs, including Eknath Shinde, Chimanrao Patil, Balaji Kalyankar, Sanjay Raimulkar, Ramesh Bornare, Abdul Sattar, Sandipanrao Bhumre, Bharatshet Gogawale, Sanjay Shirsat, Yamini Jadhav, Lata Sonawane and Anil Babar.
While they were asked to respond to the disqualification notice by 5 pm today (June 27), Shinde and the 15 other MLAs facing disqualification, filed separate pleas in the Supreme Court. They sought a stay on the disqualification proceedings sitting the pendency of a resolution seeking the removal of Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal. Shinde has also challenged the approval of Ajay Choudhari as the Shiv Sena Legislative Party leader.
The Supreme Court granted interim relief to the Shinde camp to file their reply to disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly by July 12, 5.30 pm.