Friday, Sep 30, 2022

Maharashtra Political Tussle: A Timeline Of The Rebellion Within Shiv Sena

From rebelling against the Maha Vikas Agadhi to the swearing in of Eknath Shinde as chief minister, here’s how the recent Maharashtra political show started.

PM Narendra Modi along with Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis. Twitter

Weeks of tumultuous politics in Maharashtra and Shiv Sena led to the swearing in of Eknath Shinde as Maharashtra Chief Minister on June 30, making him 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, Uddhav had to resign as the majority of party MLAs joined Shinde in his rebellion.  

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 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. 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 Uddhav 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 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.

Uddhav 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, Uddhav removed 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 chief minister. 

Hours after announcing that he would not be part of Shinde's government, Fadnavis was sworn in as Shinde's deputy that came as a bigger surprise, as he became deputy to the man whose boss he had once been.

A two-day special session of Maharashtra assembly was called on July 3-4 for the purpose of the election of new assembly speaker and floor test of Shinde.

On July 3, first-time legislator Rahul Narvekar of BJP was on Sunday elected as the Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. He polled 164 votes against his opponent Rajan of Shiv Sena who got 107 votes.

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

Since the swearing in of Shinde and the floor test, the two factions of Shiv Sena have engaged in a war of words of as a legal battle looms in the Supreme Court, which would hear pleas on the disqualification of rebel MLAs and on the appointment of Shinde as chief minister. 

A petition has sought direction to quash the decision dated June 30 of Mahrashtra Governor to invite Shinde to take oath as the chief minister of Maharashtra and form the government. It also sought direction to quash proceedings of the Maharashtra legislative assembly held on July 3 and the consequent election of the speaker.  

The Uddhav's Shiv Sena faction has also filed a writ petition challenging the recognition of the whip nominated by the Shinde faction as the chief whip of the Shiv Sena by the newly elected Maharashtra Assembly speaker Rahul Narvekar, according to The Quint.

Amid all this, Uddhav on July 8 stated that the 'bow and arrow' symbol of Shiv Sena would remain as per the law. He has also dared party rebels and the BJP to contest mid-term elections.