In a significant development, Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, has provided reassurance that Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will not be disqualified from his current position. Furthermore, Fadnavis affirmed that even in the event of disqualification, Shinde would be elected as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) and would continue to hold the chief minister’s post.
This declaration comes in the midst of ongoing legal proceedings related to the disqualification of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from various factions of the Shiv Sena following a split in the party last year. The Supreme Court had previously granted State Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar a final opportunity to establish a realistic timeframe for resolving the cross-petitions filed by rival factions of the Shiv Sena, each seeking the disqualification of the other’s MLAs.
Scheduled for a hearing on Monday, the Supreme Court will consider pleas filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena and the Sharad Pawar bloc of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). These pleas seek a directive to Speaker Narwekar to expedite the resolution of disqualification petitions against certain MLAs.
Devendra Fadnavis, during an interview with TV9 Marathi channel, articulated his confidence in Shinde’s continued tenure as Chief Minister. Fadnavis stated, “The first thing is that Shinde will not get disqualified. Even if he gets disqualified, we will get him elected to the legislative council, and he will retain the chief minister’s post. The next election is going to be contested under his leadership only.”
The Supreme Court has previously expressed its dissatisfaction with the state assembly speaker’s delay in addressing the petitions for disqualification filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction, including the request for disqualifying Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and several MLAs affiliated with him. The court emphasized that the speaker cannot circumvent the orders of the highest court in the land.
Notably, parallel disqualification petitions have been submitted by the Shinde faction against lawmakers aligned with Uddhav Thackeray.
On September 18, the Supreme Court directed the speaker to establish a clear timeline for adjudicating the disqualification petitions concerning Chief Minister Shinde and Shiv Sena MLAs who had formed a coalition with the BJP to establish a new government in June 2022. This directive sought to address the petitions for disqualification concerning a total of 56 MLAs, including those associated with the Shinde faction.
Sources By Agencies