3rd attempt by Devendra Fadnavis to grab power in Mumbai

Uddhav Thackeray tries to placate Shinde, keep BJP at bay

Politics

June 21, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

3rd attempt by Devendra Fadnavis to grab power in Mumbai

Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray faces serious threat as a group of Shiv Sena MLAs including a minister go missing (Photo: Aman Kanojiya)

Day after surprise win of five Bharatiya Janata Party candidates in elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council, political turmoil grip Maharashtra as the MVA alliance government led by Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray faces serious threat as a group of Shiv Sena MLAs including a minister go missing and are reportedly hold up in a hotel in Surat.

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The ruling Mahavikas Aghadhi (MVA) alliance government of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress in Maharashtra received a serious jolt late Monday night as the results of the Maharashtra Legislative Council elections were declared. While the three alliance partners bagged five seats in all, with Shiv Sena and NCP getting two each and the Congress one, the opposition BJP created a surprise as all five of its candidates were elected, even though the BJP was far short of the numbers. This pointed at a fairly scale cross voting from the ruling party benches.

The BJP has 106 MLAs, while the alliance members Shiv Sena 56, NCP 53 and Congress 44. A total of 285 members cast their vote in MLC election. Each candidate needed 27 votes to get elected to the legislative council but ministers Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik could not participate in vote as they are in jail, hence the minimum quota of votes reduced to 26 to get elected to the legislative council. In the election BJP was supposed to get four candidates elected but the party managed to get all its five candidates elected. Shiv Sena’s strength was 55 and both its winning candidates got 26 votes each, indicating that some Shiv Sena MLAs voted for BJP candidates.

Shiv Sena number 2 revolts

Hours after rumours of cross voting came the news that senior Shiv Sena leader and urban development minister in the Maharashtra cabinet Eknath Shinde, who is alleged to have helped the BJP in the MLC election by engineering cross-voting, had gone missing along with a number of Shiv Sena MLAs. Various reports put the total number of MLAs with Shinde to be anywhere between 12-30. They are reportedly camping in a luxury hotel in Surat in the neighbouring Gujarat state, where a BJP government is in power.

Since then, a flurry of activity has been taking place in Mumbai, Delhi and Surat with Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray trying to placate his deputy and also keep his flock together in order to preserve his government which has long been targetted by the BJP for potential poaching as the party did in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka with the Congress.

Thackeray called an emergency meeting of his cabinet and later sent Sena leaders to talk with Shinde, who was removed from the position of party leader in the state assembly.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi sent Kamal Nath, former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh to Mumbai to supervise the political crisis of Maharashtra.

Devendra Fadnavis: Third time lucky

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut alleged that their MLAs who were in Surat hotels had spoken to them, and some of them wanted to return, but they were not allowed to. He said that the MLAs of Shiv Sena were loyalists to Shiv Sainiks. He blamed the BJP for its ‘desperate attempt’ to grab power in the state at any cost and said that the use of Gujarat was an indication since in the cases of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh rebellions, it was also seen that the rebel Congress MLAs were housed in hotels in Gujarat and not in other parts of India, he added.

Sharad Pawar, Chief of Nationalist Congress Party expressed hope that Thackeray would be able to manage the situation, but pointed out that this was the third attempt by the BJP to destabilise the MVA government.

Pawar said that even before the Uddhav Thackeray government was formed, their MLAs were taken to Haryana, but they returned and the government was formed.

Indeed, the BJP has been trying to come to power in Mumbai. On  November 23, 2019, just after the elections the BJP leader, Devendra Fadnavis got himself administered the oath of Chief Minister and got NCP’s Ajit Pawar as deputy CM. But, he was humiliated and had to resign barely 80 hours later as Pawar himself resigned and rejoined NCP. Fadnavis seems to be hoping that he turns third time lucky.

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