With factionalism within Shiv Sena taking Maharashtra politics by storm, another twist to the state’s crisis has shaped up with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari calling for the floor test of Uddhab Thackeray. In a letter, Koshyari has sought that Thackeray proves his majority on the floor of the state’s assembly on Thursday.
The development comes after BJP leader and former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis met Koshyari and informed him about Thackeray’s government seemingly in minority, on Tuesday evening
Thackeray led Shiv Sena has termed the Governor Koshyari’s move “illegal” and has approached Supreme Court on grounds that 16 rebel MLAs are yet to respond on their possible disqualification.
Here we explain what is the floor test and all about the number game:
What is a floor test?
A floor test is a legislative procedure through which an incumbent government that is suspected to have lost majority is required to prove it still retains the confidence of the House.
How is floor test conducted?
The chief minister of the state moves a motion seeking a vote of confidence, on which MLAs who are present in the House vote. If the majority of members vote in favour, the government survives; if the CM loses the vote, the government has to resign.
How is voting supposed to be done during floor test?
Voting can be conducted through a voice vote, in which MLAs respond to the motion verbally. Voting electronically involves the casting of votes by pressing a button, after which the numbers for each side are displayed on a board. In a physical division of votes, lawmakers cast votes in a ballot box, which are then counted.
Why is a floor test taking place in Maharashtra?
For more than a week, Shiv Sena rebels led by Eknath Shinde have been camping outside Maharashtra, first in Gujarat, and then in Assam. Their ranks have swollen during this period, and they have appointed their own leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party and Chief Whip.
What are rebel MLAs claiming?
The rebel MLAs are claiming that they have 39 of the Shiv Sena’s 55 MLAs with them, and are the majority faction of the party. This group has said they are against the Sena’s alliance with the NCP and Congress, and would like to join hands with the BJP.
What is the magic number in the Maharashtra Assembly?
The strength of the Legislative Assembly is 288. A Sena member passed away last month, so the effective strength now is 287. The magic number or halfway mark is, therefore, 144.
With 39 Sena MLAs going across to Shinde’s camp, the number of Sena MLAs supporting Thackeray has come down from 55 to 16. The NCP has 53, and the Congress has 44. The MVA tally therefore adds up to only 113, which is 31 short of the halfway mark.
There are 29 MLAs in the House who belong to smaller parties, or are Independents. About 10 among this group have pledged their support to the Shinde group, and another 10 are inclined towards the BJP.