Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Urban development minister Eknath Shinde is reportedly “missing”, along with over two dozen MLAs, since June 20 legislative council elections, fuelling rumours of a rebellion within the party and spelling trouble for the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in the state.
The MLAs and Shinde are said to be holed up in a hotel in Gujarat’s Surat, according to a report in India Today. Though there is no official confirmation, Shinde is expected to address media at 12 noon today
The development comes after the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA ) and the BJP won five seats each in the Legislative Assembly elections. Opposition BJP won all five seats it contested. Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party bagging two each in the results declared on Monday. However, Congress candidate Chandrakant Handore lost in a setback for the ruling alliance.
Shinde is a prominent Shiv Sena leader in Thane and has played an important role in strengthening the organisation in the region.
The BJP has 106 MLAs in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. The remaining votes for its legislative council candidates have reportedly either come from independent MLAs, or those from small and other parties.
“We're very happy; Maharashtra has shown faith in BJP. Cross-voting 100% happened among members of Shiv Sena and Congress. We wouldn't have received so many votes otherwise,” BJP's winning candidate Pravin Darekar said on Monday.Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has convened an urgent meeting of all party MLAs on Tuesday noon after reports of cross-voting by around 20 MLAs.
Some MLAs of Shiv Sena and Eknath Shinde are currently not reachable. Efforts are being made to topple the MVA government but BJP has to remember that Maharashtra is very different from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut pic.twitter.com/cDUFjfm9pf
— ANI (@ANI) June 21, 2022
Shiv Sena leader and member of parliament Sanjay Raut confirmed that some MLAs of Shiv Sena and Eknath Shinde are currently not reachable. He alleged that there was a conspiracy to topple the Uddhav Thackeray government in the "same pattern" as in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
"Shiv Sena is a party of loyalists. We won't let that happen," Raut was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The total strength of Maharashtra Assembly is 288.
With 2 lawmakers in jail and one dead, the strength of 288-member Maharashtra assembly is down to 285. Thus the majority mark in the Assembly, in the event of a trust vote, would be 143.
The MVA government has currently 151 legislators. The alliance claims the support of some independent lawmakers also.
The Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs. If the MLAs, who are being reportedly holed in the Surat hotel, with rebel minister Eknath Shinde resign, the Sena's number comes down and also bring the majority mark in the house.If the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs decide to switch over, they will need to resign under the anti-defection law and get elected back in bypolls.