Thursday, August 11, 2022

Maharashtra stir: Thackeray calls cabinet meeting today

In the midst of political upheaval in Maharashtra that has cast doubt on the governing Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government’s existence, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has scheduled a State Cabinet meeting for 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

This comes as suspicion mounts that Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and other MLAs may join the BJP in an attempt to destabilise the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) administration.

Shinde along with 40 other MLAs arrived at Guwahati airport on Wednesday morning and said that they will carry Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva.

“A total of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs are present here. We will carry Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva,” said Shinde after arriving in Guwahati.

Shinde and some other MLAs were unreachable after suspected cross-voting in MLC polls.

This comes after suspected cross-voting in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged five seats, in a major blow to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance government. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena won two each while Congress was able to clinch one seat out of the total 10 seats in Legislative Council that went to the polls on Monday.

Amid the drama, Shinde took a veiled dig at Shiv Sena for joining hands with Congress and NCP to form the government in the state and tweeted, “We are Balasaheb’s staunch Shiv Sainiks … Balasaheb has taught us Hindutva. We have never and will never cheat for power regarding Balasaheb’s thoughts and Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb’s teachings.”

Shinde has also removed the words “Shiv Sena” from his Twitter bio. He has been influential in developing the organisation in the Thane region and was appointed Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 2014, following the Shiv Sena’s split from the BJP. Shinde was appointed to the MVA government as a cabinet minister.

According to sources from ANI, Shinde has felt marginalised since the creation of the MVA administration. Shrikant Shinde, his son, is a member of the Kalyan Lok Sabha.

In the midst of these events, Shiv Sena representatives met with Deputy Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly Narhari Zirwal and presented him a letter demanding that Eknath Shinde be removed as Shiv Sena Legislative Party Leader and Ajay Chaudhary be appointed.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra BJP head Chandrakant Patil said that the state government is now “technically” in “minority” as Eknath Shinde and other Shiv Sena MLAs had left.

He stated that the BJP is currently in a “wait and watch” posture, adding that neither the BJP nor Shinde has made any proposals for government formation.

“BJP got support from independents and small political parties for Rajya Sabha and MLC elections. As per our information, Eknath Shinde and 35 MLAs have gone. This means technically state government is in minority but practically it will take some time for the government to be in minority,” he said.

“It’s too early to say anything, we are currently waiting and keeping an eye on the situation. So far, there has not been any proposal regarding government formation neither from the BJP nor from Eknath Shinde but anything can happen in politics at any time,” the BJP leader added.

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