Maharashtra political turmoil updates | June 29, 2022

Embattled Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announces resignation moments after the Supreme Court refused to stay floor test on June 30; rebel Sena MLAs leave Guwahati for Mumbai via Goa

June 29, 2022 09:45 am | Updated June 30, 2022 03:51 am IST

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray submits his resignation letter to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on June 29, 2022. Photo: PRO, Raj Bhavan via PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray submits his resignation letter to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on June 29, 2022. Photo: PRO, Raj Bhavan via PTI

Embattled Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced his resignation from the post on Wednesday, moments after the Supreme Court refused to stay Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s direction to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to take a floor test in the Assembly on Thursday.

The rebel Sena MLAs who were stationed in Guwahati since June 22 were taken to Goa on Wednesday evening and from there, they were scheduled to be brought to Mumbai.

Prior to leaving, all the MLAs were taken to the Kamakhya temple. “We will be in Mumbai on Thursday to vote in the floor test,” rebel leader Eknath Shinde said.

In a virtual address to the public, Mr. Thackeray said, “I am not the one who will stick to power. From today [Wednesday] morning, my workers are being sent notices by police. Central forces are here. Army might be called. Those who should have been at China borders will be here. I don’t want to see blood of my workers spilling on the roads of Mumbai. Today, I resign from the post of Chief Minister.”

He said he was quitting as a Member of the Legislative Council and would now only concentrate on party work. “I never said I will return. I never wanted to be here at this place, but I came. From now on, I will be fully with you,” he told Sena workers.

In a setback to his faction, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the floor test. “We are not staying the floor test,” a Vacation Bench of Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala briefly informed the warring Shiv Sena factions after taking half-an-hour recess to deliberate in their chambers following a marathon hearing which spanned four hours, starting at 5 p.m.

Talking Politics with Nistula Hebbar | What led to the political crisis in Maharashtra?

The Shiv Sena at the political crossroads

The rebellion by Mr. Shinde is most significant in the outfit’s 56-year-old history as it threatens to bring down the party-led government in Maharashtra, while the other revolts took place when it was not in power in the State.

Here are the latest updates

12:30 am | June 30, 2022

Fadnavis, Shinde will decide next course of action, says Maha BJP chief

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde will now decide the next court of action, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said on Wednesday night. Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray resigned earlier in the evening, a day before a scheduled floor test in the state Assembly.

12:15 am | June 30, 2022

Maharashtra governor accepts Uddhav Thackeray’s resignation, asks him to stay as caretaker CM

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday night tendered resignation state Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan here. The Governor accepted the resignation and asked him to officiate as Chief Minister until the alternate arrangement is made, Raj Bhavan sources said. Thackeray drove himself in a Mercedes to the Raj Bhavan, accompanied by his sons Aaditya and Tejas as well as Shiv Sena leaders Neelam Gorhe and Arvind Sawant and others.

11:44 pm

Cops on alert, security enhanced as Maha CM Uddhav Thackerey steps down

Police have tightened security at the residences and offices of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs in the wake of the resignation of Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. The rebel MLAs led by Eknath Shinde are expected to reach Mumbai on Thursday morning. A chartered flight carrying them landed at the Dabolim airport in Goa on Wednesday night.

10: 55 pm

Former Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar receives threat letter

Former Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar on Wednesday said she has received a letter threatening to kill her and her family. The letter was replete with vulgar language, and warned her that she, along with her son and husband, would be killed once “a new government” comes to power, she said. The sender identified himself as `Vijendra Mhatre’ from Uran, and she had received a similar threat letter sent in the same name in December 2021, Pednekar said. -PTI

10:35 pm

‘Karma’: BJP leaders take swipe as Uddhav resigns

BJP leaders invoked ‘karma’ and the legacy of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray as they took a swipe at outgoing Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who resigned Wednesday night after the Supreme Court cleared the decks for a floor test following a rebellion by a big chunk of his party MLAs. “Karma does not spare anyone,” BJP general secretary C T Ravi, who is in charge of his party’s affairs in the state, said. -PTI

9.50 pm

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray resigns ahead of floor test

He says, “I am also resigning from the Maharashtra council seat. I am free. I am with you all. I am thankful to all those who stayed with me. I will be with you.” - Alok Deshpande

9:45 pm

Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs arrive in Goa, check into hotel

The rebel Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde on Wednesday evening checked into a five-star hotel at Dona Paula near Panaji after arriving in the coastal state from Guwahati where they were camping for the last eight days. The MLAs arrived by a chartered flight at Dabolim airport at 9.45 pm, and left for the hotel, 30 km from the Airport.

9.10 pm

SC refuses to stay floor test in Maharashtra Assembly on June 30

Justice Kant: We are not staying the floor test tomorrow.

SC however issues notice on Sunil Prabhu's writ petition challenging the legality of the process of calling for floor test. To hear along with Shinde's plea on July 11.

The floor test proceedings tomorrow will be subject to final outcome of the case in the SC.

Krishnadas Rajagopal

8.00 pm

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for Governor Koshyari: “It is not the SC which has interdicted the Deputy Speaker (to adjudicate disqualification proceedings against dissidents), it is the law which has interdicted him.”

Mehta argues the objective to issue disqualification notices through the Speaker is to cover the fact that the government is in minority.

He says, “Deputy Speaker gave two days’ notice to the Shinde faction to respond to disqualification notice. The same person now complains that only one day has been given before floor test. There are many cases in which the SC has ordered floor test in 24 hours. Majority cannot be determined in the Raj Bhavan but on the floor of the House where everybody can see.”

Arguments conclude. Judges leave for their chambers for deliberations. To reassemble for passing orders at 9 p.m.

Krishnadas Rajagopal

7.40 pm

Senior advocate Maninder Singh for dissidents’ camp: “Calling for floor test does not require the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.”

He says, “SC only followed the principles of natural justice to give the 16 dissident MLAs time to respond... That order cannot freeze the hand of the Governor to call for a floor test.”

Justice Kant: “Suppose floor test is held. Later it comes to a turn that the process which evolved into the floor test was unconstitutional, we can intervene. It is not an irreversible situation.”

Krishnadas Rajagopal

7.10 pm

Justice Kant says: We have asked this question before. Can a government, knowing it is in minority, use the Speaker‘s office to issue disqualification notices en masse?

Advocate Kaul says: “Not holding the floor test is the antithesis of democracy. What kind of an argument did Singhvi make that Governor recovered from Covid only two days back and did not verify the letter from the 34 MLAs before calling for floor test... So is he saying that the Governor should hold back and allow the State to burn?”

Justice Kant: How many MLAs are there in the dissidents' camp?

Mr. Kaul says: 39

Justice Kant: How many have been served disqualification notice?

Mr. Kaul: 16

Justice Kant: How many total MLAs

Mr. Kaul: 55

Mr. Kaul: We are the Shiv Sena

Krishnadas Rajagopal

6.30 pm

Maharashtra floor test hearing continues

Senior Advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing the Thackeray faction, says: “Lordships have to maintain a balance. Either lift the fetter on the Speaker and allow him to go ahead with the disqualification proceedings or keep the floor test in temporary abeyance.”

Senior advocate Neeraj Kaul for Shinde camp: “Floor test can never ever be delayed. Proceedings of disqualification cannot delay floor test. Disqualification should be decided, but these MLAs continue to remain part of the House.”

Advocate Kaul says: “Question of disqualification does not have any bearing in the conduct of the floor test. A reluctance of the CM to face the floor of the House prima facie shows he has lost the majority. What is wrong in the Governor exercising his judgment or discretion to call for a floor test?”

Justice Surya Kant says: “The Governor may be competent to call for a floor test, but the question posed by the other side who are the members competent to participate in the floor test.”

Advocate Kaul says: “The CM’s faction is a hopeless minority within the party itself. I have seldom seen a party so afraid to face a floor test. Usually, the governing faction will come forward to hold the floor test to prove their strength.”

The Shinde camp advocate says: “[Advocate] Singhvi is trying to relate two things which remain into two completely different constitutional spheres. He cannot relate disqualification proceedings and the Speaker’s competence with the conduct of floor test.”

He adds: “The more you delay a floor test the more you damage the constitutional spirit. Floor test is the sure remedy to horse-trading. Why are they shying away from the floor test? Calling for floor test is entirely the Governor’s discretion. Is the Governor’s call for floor test so perverse in this case that it requires judicial intervention?” — Krishnadas Rajagopal

5.45 p.m.

As Supreme Court hears plea against floor test, Maharashtra CM chairs cabinet meeting

A cabinet meeting chaired by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is underway at Mantralaya in Mumbai, while the Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the State Governor’s direction for a floor test on Thursday. — PTI

5.30 p.m.

Governor cannot act on the advice of the Leader of Opposition: Singhvi

Senior Advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing the Thackeray faction, says the dissidents who are no longer members of the House are being allowed to swim in a pool in which they do not belong. They are being allowed to swim in the pool with irreversible consequences. This is like allowing a person from the street being allowed to vote in the floor test.

“There is undue haste and hurry. Governor has to act on the aid and advice of the Chief Minister. He cannot act on the aid and advice of the Leader of Opposition,” says Advocate Singhvi. “The conduct of the rebel MLAs makes it evident they have given up party membership. The letter 34 MLAs wrote to the Governor complaining about the party amounts to voluntarily giving up party membership.”

“If heavens will not fall if the disqualification proceedings have been put on hold till July 12, how will heavens falls if the floor test is not held tomorrow?” says Advocate Singhvi.— Krishnadas Rajagopal

5.15 p.m.

Maharashtra floor test hearing begins

Senior Advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing the Thackeray faction, says two NCP MLAs are down with COVID, and two Congress MLAs are abroad. The floor test was called at supersonic speed, and determines who is majority, and who is to govern.

Holding a floor test before determining the question of disqualification is like plunging into a pool without determining the size of the pool, says Mr. Singhvi. According to him the question who has committed the constitutional sin (of defection) has to be determined first. The Governor cannot short-circuit the Supreme Court’s proceedings or the Speaker’s disqualification proceedings.

“Is there a bar on holding fresh floor test in another 15 days if the situation again changes? How is holding a floor test connected with the SC’s pending determination of the Deputy Speaker’s competence to adjudicate disqualification?” says Justice Surya Kant.

“There are cases in which the Speaker has already taken the decision of disqualification. Here, the very competence of the Speaker is in question. Is it your case that even in this case there should be a presumption of deemed disqualification?” says Justice Surya Kant. “We had intervened in this case because there is an exceptional situation involved here. The Deputy Speaker is himself facing removal notice. The notice questions his authority to adjudicate the disqualification petition against the dissident MLAs”. — Krishnadas Rajagopal

5.00 p.m.

Rebel Sena MLAs leave Guwahati

Maharashtra MLAs, led by Shiv Sena dissident Eknath Shinde, leave Guwahati hotel, head to airport.  — PTI

5.00 p.m.

Shiv Sena workers march in Nagpur to show solidarity for Uddhav

Shiv Sena workers took out a padyatra (foot march) in Maharashtra's Nagpur on Wednesday to show solidarity for party chief and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray amid the rebellion by party MLAs.

Large number of Sena workers, including women, marched from Jhansi Rani square and raised slogans against party leader Eknath Shinde and the rebel MLAs supporting him. - PTI

4.00 pm

Will support Shiv Sena’s rebel faction if CM Thackeray does not snap ties with NCP, Cong: Ex-Sena MLA

Former Shiv Sena MLA from Pune district Vijay Shivtare on Wednesday threatened that if party president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray does not snap ties with the NCP and Congress, he will have "no other option" but to support the rebel legislators led by Eknath Shinde.

He claimed that although he had written letters to Thackeray alleging that several development projects were either shifted away from his constituency or stalled by the NCP, the chief minister paid no attention to his grievances.

Sena shares power with NCP and Congress as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

Shivtare, who had represented the Purandar constituency twice and was a minister in the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis-led government, was defeated by Congress Sanjay Jagtap in the 2019 state elections.

"We are in the MVA for the last two-and-a-half years. Despite the CM being from our party, the terminal of the proposed international airport in Purandar was shifted away to Supe (around 40 kms from Baramati). CM Thackeray knew about the project. I had a detailed discussion about it with him. If NCP leaders are giving a proposal to shift the terminal, I should have been at least consulted, but nothing of that sort happened," he said. - PTI

3.55 pm

Ahead of Maha floor test, BJP demands protection for rebel MLAs

Maharashtra BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar on Wednesday met state legislature secretariat's principal secretary Rajendra Bhagwat and urged him to ensure protection to the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, who are scheduled to arrive in the state for floor test on June 30.

Majority of the legislators of the Shiv Sena, which heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, have been camping in Guwahati along with some independents since June 22. The Sena rebels are demanding that the party snap ties with the NCP and Congress, allies in the government, accusing these parties of trying to eliminate their party.

Speaking to reporters in the Vidhan Bhavan premises, he said, "We met Bhagwat and deputy speaker of the Maharashtra legislative assembly Narhari Zirwal with a demand to ensure protection for the members. We also discussed the seating arrangement of MLAs in the House with the officials." "Clear threats have been given to some MLAs in the state. Democracy has to be protected and hence we requested the officials to ensure necessary measures," he added. - PTI

2.10 pm

Jailed NCP leaders Malik, Anil Deshmukh move SC for participation in Maharashtra floor test

Jailed Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to participate in the Maharashtra Assembly floor test.

A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala was told by advocate Sudhanshu S. Choudhuri that the two MLAs have been booked for offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and are in jail.

The bench then said it would take up their application at 5.30 p.m.

1:43 pm

Shinde says we will pass the floor test

“We are not worried about the floor test. We will pass it. We have the numbers. This is a Shiv Sena which will take forward the ideals of ‘Hindutva’ and those of Balasaheb Thackeray,” says Shiv Sena rebel camp leader Eknath Shinde before leaving Guwahati.

1:32 pm

“MLAs prayed at the temple for public of Assam to get relief from floods

“All MLAs prayed at the Kamakhya Devi temple for the public of Assam to get relief from the floods. As a token of goodwill, we have donated ₹51 lakh to the flood-afflicted people of Assam,” says Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar, spokesperson for the Eknath Shinde rebel camp. The MLAs will be leaving for Goa shortly. -Shoumojit Banerjee

12.25 pm

Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs donate ₹51 lakh for Assam flood relief

Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs from Maharashtra have contributed ₹51 lakh for the flood relief wok in Assam, where they have been camping since the last week, their spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The Sena legislators, led by senior Minister Eknath Shinde, have raised the banner of revolt against their party. These MLAs had first come to Guwahati on June 22 and subsequently in several batches from Gujarat’s Surat in chartered flights.

Amid criticism that the Sena dissidents were staying at a luxury hotel in Guwahati even as parts of Assam were grappling with severe floods, Deepak Kesarkar, the spokesperson of the rebel MLAs told PTI, “Mr. Shinde has donated ₹51 lakh to the Assam Chief Minister’s Relief Fund as our contribution to their ongoing rescue work. We cannot ignore the plight of people here.” Mr. Kesarkar added that with Maharashtra Governor B.S. Koshyari asking the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to face a floor test on Thursday, the rebel MLAs have decided to move out of Guwahati and shift to a place near Mumbai.

11:38 am

Rebel MLA says CM not ready to leave Pawar

“Uddhav Thackeray ready to leave 40 MLAs of his own party, CM’s official residence ‘Varsha’, but not ready to leave (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar. We have done a lot for the party and Mr. Thackeray,” says rebel Sena MLA Gulabrao Patil at the last meeting of the Eknath Shinde camp at Guwahati’s Radisson Blu hotel. The rebel MLAs have frequently alleged that Mr Pawar’s NCP, through Sena MP Sanjay Raut, has tried to finish off their party. -Shoumojit Banerjee

10:52 am

SC to hear Sena petition today

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi for the Thackeray camp makes an oral mention for an urgent hearing at 5 pm or 6 pm against the Maharashtra Assembly floor test tomorrow at 11 am. Mr. Singhvi says the suddenness of the floor test notice deserves an urgent hearing today itself.

SC says due to the “urgency created” in the conduct of the floor test, it will hear the Sena petition today itself. -Krishnadas Rajgopal

Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the Sena dissidents camp, says most it is unfair to have a hearing today. Political accountability has to be tested on the floor of the House. But, the court insisted on hearing the case today. It further asked the Thackeray camp to share the petition and pleadings.— Krishnadas Rajagopal

10.40 am

Udhav faction to move Supreme Court

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday termed the Maharashtra Governor’s order for a floor test of the Uddhav Thackeray-led government as “unlawful”, saying that the Supreme Court is yet to decide on the disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs.

He said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), the ruling coalition of Sena, NCP and Congress, will approach the Supreme Court and seek justice on this issue. —PTI

10.30 am

Rebel MLAs to fly to Goa

Dissident Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde, camping in Guwahati, are likely to leave for Goa this afternoon, according to sources. A SpiceJet aircraft has been hired and the flight is expected to leave Guwahati’s Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport for Goa’s Dabolim airport at around 3 pm, sources privy to the development said.

The 39 rebel Shiva Sena MLAs and some independent MLAs are going to travel together in one aircraft to Goa and from there they are likely to travel to Mumbai. — PTI

10:15 am

MVA will have to move SC against Governor’s letter for floor test, says Cong’s Prithviraj Chavan

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said Maharashtra’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) will have to move the Supreme Court against Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s letter mandating the Uddhav Thackeray-led dispensation to face a floor test on June 30.

Governor Koshyari has asked the Maharashtra Legislature Secretary to hold a floor test of the Shiv Sena-led government at 11 am on Thursday.

Talking to PTI, Mr. Chavan said the apex court has maintained status quo over the case till July 11. -PTI

9:39 am

Maharashtra governor asks CM Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority on June 30

Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has asked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority on June 30. -Alok Deshpande

9:30 am

Eknath Shinde visits Kamakhya temple, to return to Mumbai on Thursday

Dissident Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde on Wednesday stepped out of Radisson Blu hotel here, where he and other rebel Maharashtra MLAs are camping since June 22, and visited Kamakhya temple to seek blessings.

Mr. Shinde told reporters outside the temple that he will return to Mumbai on Thursday to “complete the formalities”. Implying he would participate in moves to form a new government.

He along with two more MLAs from the western State visited the temple atop Neelachal hill on the bank of Brahmaputra early morning. -PTI

9.00 am

PIL plea in HC seeks FIR against the Thackerays, Raut

A public interest litigation (PIL) petition has been filed in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday seeking registration of First Information Report (FIR) against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray and Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut.

The PIL sought a direction to restrain all the three from making any statements against the members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) who are with rebel leader Eknath Shinde in Guwahati.

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