Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde on Sunday moved the Supreme Court against disqualification notices served to him and 15 other MLAs. A vacation bench is likely to hear the plea on Monday. Shinde later tweeted that he would consider it his destiny even if he had to die to “follow Hindutva”.
The Shinde “faction”, currently camping at a Guwahati hotel since June 22, has demanded that the Shiv Sena must withdraw from the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, which also comprises the NCP and Congress. But the Sena, too, has refused to give in and has taken a tough stance against the dissidents by asking them to contest the elections again.
Alliance partner NCP and its chief Sharad Pawar, too, expressed confidence in CM Uddhav Thackeray and said the party will continue to support him and the Sena as long as it is needed.
Here are the top updates from the six-day-old rebellion by Eknath Shinde that has plunged the ruling MVA into a political crisis:
- ‘Better to die…’, tweets Eknath Shinde
After moving Supreme Court against disqualification notices served to him and 15 other MLAs, rebel leader Eknath Shinde tweeted that he would rather die than be with a party that had a “direct connection to culprits of Mumbai bomb blast”. On behalf of all rebel MLAs, Shinde said they would consider it as destiny to die in the service of Hindutva. “Even if we have to die to follow the ideology of Hindutva, we will consider it as our destiny,” he tweeted, adding, “how can Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena support people who had direct connection with culprits of Mumbai bomb blast, Dawood Ibrahim and those responsible for taking lives of innocent people of Mumbai. That’s why we took such step, it’s better to die.”
- Eknath Shinde moves SC, plea to be heard on Monday
Eknath Shinde moved the Supreme Court against the disqualification of notices served to him and 15 other MLAs. The plea will be heard by a vacation bench of justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala on Monday. The Maharashtra legislature secretariat on Saturday had issued ‘summons’ to 16 rebel MLAs, including Shinde, seeking written replies by the evening of June 27 to complaints seeking disqualification. Signed by Rajendra Bhagwat, principal secretary of the Maharashtra Vidhan Bhavan, the summons were sent to 16 MLAs named by the Sena’s chief whip Sunil Prabhu in a letter.
- Shinde group claims more than two-third support
The Eknath Shinde-led rebel group has claimed that it has the support of over two-thirds of Sena MLAs. In Guwahati, sources said the rebel MLAs who were served notices held meetings to discuss their options.
- Higher education minister joins rebel camp
Maharashtra higher and technical education minister Uday Samant became the eighth minister from the Uddhav Thackeray-led cabinet to join the Shinde camp. Samant’s convoy, escorted by Assam Police, was spotted entering the Radisson Blu Hotel off NH37.
- MLAs of Shinde camp ready to face floor test in assembly, says Sena rebel
Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar said the Eknath Shinde camp was ready to face the floor test in the Maharashtra legislative assembly but only after they were recognised as a Sena faction. He said once their strength increased to 51, they will be making the decision to return to Mumbai. “One to two more MLAs will come and join us. With their support and other independents, our strength will be increased to 51. We will arrive at a decision in three to four days and, thereafter, we will directly go back to Maharashtra,” said Kesarkar, adding, “MLAs of the Shinde camp are ready to face the floor test in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly at any time, but first recognition should be given to Eknath Shinde faction. We will not go with the MVA government.”
- ‘Last month, Uddhav Thackeray called Shinde…’
Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray has claimed that over a month ago, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had asked rebel leader Eknath Shinde if he wanted to become the CM, but the Shiv Sena strongman had sidestepped the issue then. Aaditya, who is the CM Uddhav’s son, made this revelation while addressing party workers. “On May 20, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had called Eknath Shinde to ‘Varsha’ (CM’s official residence) and asked whether he wants to become the chief minister. However, he had sidestepped the issue then. But a month later, on June 20, whatever had to happen, happened,” Aaditya said.
- Governor Koshyari asks for security to be provided to rebel MLAs
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Sunday wrote to union home secretary Ajay Bhalla regarding the security of MLAs camping with rebel leader Eknath Shinde in Guwahati, and requested that adequate provision of central security forces be made and kept ready for them and their families in case the situation demands it.
- Sharad Pawar questions Shinde’s rebellion
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said his party will support chief minister Uddhav Thackeray till the last minute. He asked as to why rebel leader Eknath Shinde and the other MLAs were having issues when they did not express any in the last two-and-a-half years of MVA rule. “Eknath Shinde and other MLAs were there with the NCP in the government. They didn’t have any problems in the last 2.5 years. Why does it happen today only? It’s just an excuse… We will support CM Uddhav Thackeray till last minute,” Pawar added.
- 40 MLAs in Guwahati living corpses, says Sanjay Raut
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut slammed the rebellion by Eknath Shinde and those camping with him in Guwahati, calling them “living corpses” and “dead souls”. “The 40 MLAs in Guwahati are living corpses, their souls are dead. Their bodies will be sent directly to the assembly for post-mortem when they come back. They know what can happen in the fire that has been lit here.” On his brother Sunit Raut being in touch with the rebel camp,” he said. On speculation surrounding his brother Sunil Raut being in touch with the rebels, he added, “Sunil Raut is holding a rally in Vikhrohli, go and see. Anyone from our family will never leave the Sena, it’s in our blood.”
- Disqualification notice served to 16 rebels
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant said so far, 16 rebel MLAs had been served disqualification notices over their action against the party. “Political turbulence is going on in Maharashtra, many MLAs defected and have gone to Assam. We have initiated the legal action against them and notice has been served to 16 MLAs till now,” Sawant said, adding that the notices had been served on grounds that they were all engaged in “anti-party activities”.
- Prohibitory orders in place
The Maharashtra home office said prohibitory orders had been put in place in different parts of the state in anticipation of a law and order situation. “There’s no major incident of disruption of law and order situation in the state today. Adequate security has been provided at the office, residence of all MLAs who’ve gone to Guwahati. At no point was the security withdrawn of MLAs who’ve gone to Guwahati,” said the home office. It also said the state police was on alert and geared up to deal with any law and order issue. “Prohibitory orders are in force in different parts of the state. Anybody trying to disrupt peace will be dealt with as per the law,” said the home office.
(With PTI inputs)