Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who arrived in Guwahati from Surat on June 22 morning, claimed he has support of 46 MLAs, including 40 from his party and six independents.
"I have support of 46 MLAs including Independents," Shinde told news channel NDTV.
The rebellion has put Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra in danger.
Here is how the numbers stack up in the Maharashtra assembly :
The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has a total strength of 288. With one seat vacant because of the death of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke, the number is down to 287. The majority mark in the Assembly, in the event of a trust vote, is now 144.
The MVA government of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress currently has 152 legislators. Of these, the Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs, the NCP 53 and the Congress 44, as part of MVA. Two NCP MLAs Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik are currently in jail in connection with money laundering cases.
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In the Opposition camp, the BJP has 106 MLAs and the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) has three lawmakers in the House.
The MNS, CPI(M), PWP, Swabhimani Party, Rashtriya Samaj Paksh, Jansurajya Shakti party, Krantikari Shetkari Party have one MLA each.
Then there are 13 independent lawmakers.
The present political crisis in Maharashtra comes in the backdrop of repeated setbacks faced by the Uddhav Thackeray-led coalition government in recently-held Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council polls. In both the elections, the alliance government lost one seat each to the BJP due to cross-voting.
Shinde, who has claimed to be a staunch Shiv Sainik, would need at least 36 MLAs to go along with him if he wants to split the Shiv Sena without attracting disqualification under the anti-defection law. As per the rules, if the rebel group wants to merge with BJP, at least 37 MLAs (two-thirds of Shiv Sena’s 55) have to come together to ensure they do not face disqualification. If that happens, the MVA government will fall.
For now, Shinde claims he has support of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs and six independents. The Uddhav Thackeray camp claims the real number is less. Claims apart, it remains to be seen if at all, Shinde has numbers to decide his future course of action. The numbers, anyway, have to be tested on the floor of the assembly.
In the scenario of Shinde, and all the Shiv Sena MLAs that he claims are with him, choosing to resign, and not merging with the BJP, the strength of the House is reduced by 40 to 247, and the halfway mark becomes 124. The MVA numbers too would go down from the present 152.
The BJP might demand a confidence motion in the house prompting the two-and-a-half year old MVA government to prove the majority. Here independents and legislators from small parties will hold the key.
On November 28, 2019, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as chief minister to head the MVA government formed after the BJP and Shiv Sena broke their 35-year-old alliance over differences pertaining to sharing of the chief minister’s post.NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on June 21 that he saw no threat to Uddhav Thackeray government and that there have been efforts (by BJP) to topple the government for two-and-a-half years.