Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction has petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to invite Eknath Shinde to form the state cabinet. Subhash Desai, the head of Team Thackeray, has also contested Monday’s assembly procedures, in which the new Maharashtra Chief Minister easily passed a majority test. The Thackeray side claims that the vote should not have been held because 16 rebel MLAs were facing disqualification procedures.
Uddhav Thackeray’s team has filed new disqualification procedures against all dissident MLAs who voted in the assembly to elect a new Speaker and in the test of majority. It has also tabled a no-confidence resolution against incoming Speaker Rahul Narvekar from Team Shinde. Subhash Desai’s petition requests the Supreme Court to rule on the disqualification of MLAs.
Eknath Shinde, supported by the BJP, orchestrated a coup in the Shiv Sena against party president Uddhav Thackeray, enlisting the support of the majority of MLAs and toppling his administration. On June 30, Mr Shinde was sworn in as Maharashtra Chief Minister, with the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis serving as his deputy. Four days later, Mr Shinde easily won a trust vote with 164 votes in the 288-member legislature, much above the simple majority requirement of 144. Only 99 MLAs opposed him.
The battle for dominance of the Shiv Sena is taking place on many grounds. The Supreme Court is also considering another case involving disqualification notifications issued by Thackeray’s team to 16 MLAs just days after Eknath Shinde started his mutiny. On Monday, the court will hear the matter. A ruling might have an effect on Eknath Shinde’s government.
Uddhav Thackeray has lost the majority of his party’s MLAs to what began as a dissident movement but has since grown into a larger group claiming to be the true Sena. Many corporators are also defecting to Eknath Shinde’s side, undermining Uddhav Thackeray’s grip over Maharashtra civic bodies, the Shiv Sena’s stronghold.