Sena Split: Shinde group urge separate hearing on disqualification plea, Uddhav camp counters

Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar advanced the hearings to Thursday since he had to attend the G-20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit in Delhi on Friday

Published - October 13, 2023 02:11 am IST - Mumbai

For representation.

For representation. | Photo Credit: File

The Shiv Sena faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde requested Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar on Thursday for separate hearings on disqualification petitions filed against them, while the Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena group argued that all petitions shared the same ground and could be heard together.

Though the hearing was initiated on September 25, no official hearing took place on that day, and only procedural matters were addressed. The Speaker decided to conduct the official hearing on October 13 instead. However, he had advanced the hearing to October 12 instead as he had to attend the G-20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit in Delhi on Friday.

The first actual hearing of disqualification pleas against Mr. Shinde and 15 other MLAs was held at Vidhan Bhavan on Thursday. “Every person who is a party to the disqualification petitions has something to say about it. Thus, we demanded separate hearings of the petitions instead of clubbing them all together,” said senior counsel Anil Sakhare, who is representing the Shinde faction.

However, an Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray (UBT) Sena Rajya Sabha member expressed his faction’s opposition to the demand made by Shinde’s group for independent hearings, and said that conducting the hearing accordingly still remains the same as the cause mentioned in every petition is the same.

“All petitions filed from the Sena (UBT) side pertain to disqualification of MLAs who joined the “other side” and we urge the Speaker that there is no further delay in deciding the petitions. Justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.

In July, Mr. Narwekar had issued notices to 40 MLAs of the Mr. Shinde-led Sena and 14 of the Thackeray faction, seeking their replies on disqualification petitions against them. The list of MLAs included former Chief Minister Mr. Thackeray’s son and UBT-Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray.

However, notice was not issued against UBT-Sena legislator Rutuja Latke, who was elected after the Sena split last year. The UBT faction has been accusing the Speaker of deliberately delaying in arriving at a decision on the disqualification pleas.

In February, the Election Commission allotted the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and the party’s bow and arrow symbol to the Shinde-led faction of the Shiv Sena, in effect recognising it as the original party founded by Balasaheb Thackeray. On May 11, the Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Shinde will continue to be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and said it cannot reinstate the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government headed by Mr. Thackeray as the latter chose to resign without facing a floor test in the wake of Mr. Shinde’s rebellion.

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