Ahead of Maharashtra Floor Test, Eknath Shinde reinstated as Shiv Sena legislative party leader

Eknath Shinde

MUMBAI: Ahead of today’s crucial trust vote of the Eknath Shinde-BJP government, the newly-appointed Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly removed Shiv Sena MLA Ajay Chaudhary as the legislative party leader and reinstated Shinde in the position.

On Sunday a letter issued by the office of Speaker Rahul Narvekar reinstated Shinde as the Shiv Sena’s legislative party leader. It also stated that Bharat Gogawale has been appointed as the chief whip of Shiv Sena Legislative party leader, removing Sunil Prabhu, who belongs to the Uddhav Thackeray camp.
Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government faces a floor test today after Sunday’s big win where BJP’s Rahul Narvekar was elected as the Speaker.

The special two-day session of the State Legislative Assembly comes after a high-voltage political drama in the state where a new government led by rebel Shiv Sena MLA Shinde came to power toppling the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) regime.

In a letter sent by Deputy Secretary on instructions of Speaker of the Assembly, the Assembly Secretariat has informed that the Speaker has gone into the representations sent by both factions of Shiv Sena and has decided that Eknath Shinde will be the Shiv Sena legislative party leader and Bharat Gogawale will be the chief whip of Shiv Sena Legislative party leader, appointment of Ajay Chaudhary as legislative party leader is set aside by the speaker.

Shinde was replaced by Choudhary in the position of party’s legislative party leader in the state Assembly. In this regard, the rebel MLAs, who were camping in Guwahati had written a letter to the Deputy Speaker objecting to the aforementioned appointment.

Later, Shinde’s camp moved the Supreme Court challenging the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker to 16 rebel MLAs as well as the appointment of Ajay Choudhary as Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader.

Earlier on Sunday evening, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, along with his faction of Shiv Sena MLAs, held a meeting with Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, BJP MLAs, and other party leaders at a hotel in Mumbai to chalk out a strategy for the floor test.

“The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance government is set to face a majority test on Monday, the second day of the special session of the legislature. What exactly will be the strategy of the government was discussed in the meeting held in the presence of all the MLAs today,” sources said.

Fadnavis claimed that the Shinde government will prove its majority with 166 votes. “The youngest speaker candidate won the speaker election with 164 votes today as 2 MLAs couldn’t come due to health issues. We would prove our majority with 166 votes in the vote of confidence,” he said.

At present, the BJP has 106 MLAs in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly and Shinde is leading 39 rebel Shiv Sena legislators and some Independents. After the death of a Shiv Sena MLA recently, the current strength of the Assembly is reduced to 287, thus the majority mark is 144.

Interestingly, amid the ongoing battle between two Shiv Sena factions led by Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray, both sides issued separate whips to the party MLAs to vote in favour of their respective candidates during the speaker’s election on Sunday and later accused each other of violating them.

Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, who is in the Uddhav Thackeray camp, said that 39 party MLAs did not obey their whip adding that they have sought their disqualification from the state Assembly. (ANI)

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