Thackeray camp moves SC over chief whip appointment by Speaker
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction moved the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday against Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narvekar appointing Bharat Gogawale of the Eknath Shinde faction as the Chief Whip of the party. The top court posted the matter for hearing on July 11 along with other pending matters on the case. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shinde won the trust vote by 164-99 on Monday.
- With Eknath Shinde having formed the government in Maharashtra, the conflict has now shifted to seizing control of the Shiv Sena, the organization Uddhav Thackeray's father Bal Thackeray founded.
- With 106 MLAs, BJP is currently the single largest party in the 287-member Assembly.
- With the Shinde faction's 50 MLAs, comprising 39 Sena rebels, the total would rise to 173, well beyond the halfway point.
"The speaker has no jurisdiction to recognize whips. This is changing the status quo of proceedings before this court...," senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Thackeray faction, said. Responding to the plea, a vacation bench headed by Justice Indira Banerjee said, "I do not have the papers in front of me. Let all of this come up together on July 11."
A day before the floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly, Narwekar was elected as the Speaker with 164 votes. His opponent, Shiv Sena legislator Rajan Salvi, received 107 votes. The two Sena factions led by Eknath Shinde Uddhav Thackeray, respectively earlier issued whips to MLAs to vote for their respective candidates. However, the Speaker took on record the letter sent by the Shinde-led faction.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MLA Suresh Prabhu petitioned the Supreme Court to suspend the rebel MLAs who were served disqualification notices. Prabu urged the SC to "restrain" them from "entering" the Assembly or "participating in any proceeding relating to the House till the final adjudication of the disqualification." The court will hear the petition on July 11, along with other pending petitions from both sides.
After the rebellion in the Shiv Sena by legislators led by Shinde, the party was left with only 13 MLAs.On June 20, the Shinde camp arrived in Gujarat's Surat in luxury buses. Later, they were taken to Guwahati, Assam, on chartered planes. On Wednesday (June 29) night, they arrived in Goa to prepare for a probable strength test, which became void after Thackeray's resignation.
Shinde apparently has positioned himself as the political heir to Shiv Sena founder Balsaheb Thackeray. Right after taking oath as the CM, Shinde changed the profile picture of his Twitter handle to one with Balasaheb. The Sena moved the SC on Friday seeking the removal of rebel party MLAs from the Assembly and also said that the new CM is not from his party.