Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

Maharashtra Political Turmoil: A Chronology Of Events

From rebelling against the Maha Vikas Agadhi to camping in hotels across Gujarat, Assam, and Goa, here’s how the recent Maharashtra political show started.

Shiv Sainiks in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sainiks in Maharashtra. Getty Images

Weeks of tumultuous politics in Shiv Sena have now led to Maharashtra having the third chief minister in less than three years.

Not many would have thought before the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections that Uddhav Thackeray, son of former Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, could snap ties with his party's all-weather ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and become chief minister to head an unlikely coalition with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress.

Three years later, following days of political drama, Thackeray had to resign while rebel MLA Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the new chief minister on Thursday. 

From rebelling against the Maha Vikas Agadhi to camping in hotels across Gujarat, Assam, and Goa, here’s how the recent Maharashtra political show started.

It all started on June 20, when BJP won five out of 10 seats in the Maharashtra Legislative Council elections. The victory of BJP came as a shock to the ruling Shiv Sena and that eventually led to the factions inside the MVA government. 

Days later, senior Shiv Sena leader and rebel MLA Eknath Shinde disappeared with 11 other MLAs and flew to Surat in the BJP-governed state of Gujarat.

The following day a meeting was called by Uddhav Thackeray. Around 10-12 more MLAs were missing and unreachable by then. Meanwhile, Sena leader Nitin Deshmukh returned from Surat and said that he was forcibly admitted to the hospital, and given injections.

Soon, Shiv Sena, in order to not lose more MLAs, housed the rest of their MLAs in several different hotels in Mumbai.

Shinde urged and demanded Thackeray to break the ‘unnatural’ alliance with the NCP and Congress and claimed that he had the support of more than 40 rebel MLAs to avoid falling under the anti-defection law.

On June 23, Shinde and 37 MLAs declared Shinde the leader of the Shiv Sena legislature party.

On the same night, Uddhav Thackeray vacated his official residence, hours after reaching out to Shiv Sena dissidents with an emotional appeal and offering to quit, even as rebel leader Shinde remained defiant and insisted the party should walk out of the "unnatural" ruling alliance MVA, and claimed the support of "enough number" of MLAs.

The CM had moved out of 'Varsha', his official residence in south Mumbai, and shifted to Matoshree, the Thackeray family's private bungalow in suburban Bandra.

On June 24, Shiv Sena filed a petition against rebel MLAs and demanded that Deputy Speaker Narahari Zirwal of the Maharashtra Assembly disqualify 16 MLAs of the Shinde camp. Zirwal met with Shiv Sena leaders and later also met with the Advocate-General of Maharashtra for legal opinion.

On June 25, 16 Shiv Sena MLAs who allied with rebel leader Eknath Shinde were served a disqualification notice by the deputy speaker of the Maharashtra assembly.

On June 26, Shinde moved the Supreme Court of India to dispute the rejection of the no-confidence vote against the Deputy speaker.

As the internal feud continued within Shiv Sena, Thackeray removed Eknath Shinde from the post of 'Shiv Sena leader' within 10 days after Shinde launched a rebellion against him which led to the collapse of the MVA government in Maharashtra.

On June 30, when many were speculating that former Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis would again ascend the throne of Maharashtra with the help of rebel Shiv Sena  MLAs, a surprising announcement was made that rebel Shiv Sena leader Ekanth Shinde would be the state’s new CM. 

On July 4, on the expected lines, new Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde won the floor test in the Maharashtra legislative assembly with 164 votes polled in favour of him, while 99 members voted against him.