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Maharashtra political row: Action moves to speaker’s chamber

Updated on: 13 May,2023 07:11 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

Decide on disqualification of 16 MLAs within three months, says Thackeray side; don’t put pressure on speaker: Shinde faction

Maharashtra political row: Action moves to speaker’s chamber

Speaker Rahul Narvekar (right) Uddhav Thackeray

A day after the Supreme Court’s far-reaching verdict on Maharashtra’s political situation, the action has shifted to Speaker Rahul Narvekar’s chamber. The Shiv Sena’s Thackeray group asked the Speaker to decide on the disqualification of the 16 MLAs at the earliest. It said the reasonable time, as directed by the court, could not go beyond three months. The Shinde faction and the BJP shot back accusing the rivals of putting the Speaker under pressure.

On Friday, Uddhav Thackeray and his colleague Anil Parab decoded the judgment, highlighting things that have gone in their party’s favour. CM Shinde’s MP son Shrikant Shinde and Thackeray’s nephew Advocate Nihar Thackeray interpreted the judgment to establish that the rival faction had created a misleading narrative to create a wrong perception about the government.

Uddhav began the day with a scathing attack on Shinde and BJP. “The lifeline given to them [Shinde and others] is interim. The Speaker should decide on the matter at the earliest . We will move the Supreme Court if there is any wrong decision,” the ex-CM, said, adding that the reasonable time had been set at three months by way of directions given in a similar case.

Also Read: Maharashtra political row: Verdict brings a lot more to the Shinde-BJP table

Uddhav Thackeray with party colleague Anil Parab during a press conference on Friday. Pic/PTI
Uddhav Thackeray with party colleague Anil Parab during a press conference on Friday. Pic/PTI

Thackeray dared Shinde and his allies to resign and face a trial in the people’s court. “It is better to avoid the further deformation of Hindutva and morality. The kind of bad name you are going to get when we approach the SC again in the disqualification matter and also in the matter of Election Commission’s ruling, will be beyond imagination. So, avoid it and let the people decide it [the winner]. Let’s accept the mandate,” said Thackeray.

According to Parab, the SC’s order was very clear in creating a framework for the Speaker. He said Sunil Prabhu, who was replaced by Bharat Gogawale, will be treated as Whip, and Ajay Chudhari, who was replaced by Shinde, will remain the leader of the legislative party, which was the original Shiv Sena, then headed by Thackeray. Since the Election Commission’s decision (of approving the Shinde faction as the original party) cannot be applied with a retrospective effect, the situation on that particular day will be considered, added Parab.

“It is on record that two ‘whips’ issued by Prabhu were violated by not only 16 but the rest of the MLAs as well. We’re giving Speaker Narvekar a letter to begin the process and end it quickly. There is nothing to inquire, because all evidence is available in the Vidhan Sabha,” stated Parab, adding that Shinde and his MLAs will go in 15 days, because “a split in the party cannot be a defence, and they have exhausted the option of merging with the other party.”

The CM pushed his son Shrikant and Thackeray’s nephew Nihar, the Shinde Sena’s lawyer-leader, upfront to present his party’s position. Industry Minister Uday Samant and senior MLA Sanjay Shirsat accompanied them at a media conference.

“They are trying to create a wrong narrative by telling the people that the court has rejected all our prayers and accepted all that they had made. The court rejected their prayers to reinstate the government, to decide the Speaker’s election as illegal and give all the authority to the deputy speaker, to recall all pending matters before the Speaker and to scrap the governor’s decision to invite Shinde to form the government,” said the Kalyan MP.

He said if Thackeray was so interested, then he could move the court time and again and countered the demand for the government’s resignation and holding elections. “They are in a hurry, but the election will take place when they are scheduled. Why don’t 14-15 MLAs they are left with resign and go to the people. They were elected on alliance votes and polled almost 46 per cent each [in 2019]. The voters will show them their place [in the by-polls].”

Nihar Thackeray said the truth had prevailed. In response to Parab’s claim that his party’s whip applied during the trust vote, he said the court had asked the Speaker “to recognise both the whip and the leader who are duly authorised by the Shiv Sena political party with reference to the provisions of the party constitution, after conducting an enquiry in this regard and in keeping with the principles discussed in this judgment”. 

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the court had given all rights pertaining to the disqualification to the Speaker. “It has been asked to do it within a specific period, and hence the efforts to put the speaker under pressure do not fit a ‘free and fair’ justice system. I don’t think the Speaker will buckle under any pressure. He is an expert lawyer and will decide the issue as per the law, constitutional provisions and the Supreme Court’s directives.”

People in the know said the ‘inquiry’ part of the SC’s conclusion has given the speaker an opportunity to consume as much time in examining and hearing the multiple petitions and recording the individuals involved. Since the hearing will be held like the ones conducted by the courts, the cross-examination will also be allowed. The schedule might stretch for a time longer than expected, said a leader.

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