Maharashtra: Shiv Sena sacks 'rebel' Eknath Shinde as chief whip
The Shiv Sena on Tuesday sacked Urban Development and PWD Minister Eknath Shinde as its Legislative Party Leader in the Maharashtra Assembly. This came after Shinde and 11 Sena MLAs took a chartered flight to Surat; they're believed to be holed up in a five-star hotel. Notably, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance faced a setback in the Maharashtra Legislative Council polls on Monday.
11 candidates in fray for 10 seats
There were 11 candidates in the fray for 10 Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) seats. Two candidates each from MVA allies Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)—including former BJP leader Khadse—won, while Congress managed to get only one seat. Meanwhile, Congress's Chandrakant Handore lost. The BJP also bagged five seats—its fifth candidate Prasad Lad won a seat as other parties' MLAs voted for him.
BJP secured a comfortable win
Eight candidates—four of the BJP and two each of the Shiv Sena and NCP—got the minimum quota of 26 votes each to win the first round. Lad, the BJP's fifth candidate, and Congress's Bhai Jagtap secured enough votes in the second round. However, the Congress's second candidate, Handore, failed to get more second preference votes and lost the seat.
Congress secured 41 of 44 preference votes it had
Congress candidates secured 41 preference votes of the 44 votes the party had. "No one can be blamed when we don't get our first preference votes. We have to look within...We, as the government, have to introspect," said Congress leader and state minister Balasaheb Thorat. Congress's Sanjay Nirupam said there was an "internal sabotage," while NCP leader Jayant Patil alleged there was horse-trading.
Shinde apparently wants to become deputy CM
Amid the apparent turmoil in the Sena camp, an anonymous state Congress minister on Tuesday claimed that Shinde wants to become the deputy chief minister and hence there has been unrest within the Sena for about a week now. Meanwhile, Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has called a meeting of the party MLAs on Tuesday, sources told news agency PTI.
NCP's Chhagan Bhujbal says MVA alliance intact
On the other hand, senior NCP leader and minister Chhagan Bhujbal said Sena and Congress MLAs cross-voted in the MLC polls. However, his party was intact and there was no threat to the MVA alliance, he added. The Sena had 59 MLAs's support. Still, both its candidates only got 26 votes each, barely managing to complete the quota of first preference votes, Bhujbal claimed.