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Maharashtra Political Crisis: Fate Of 16 Rebel Sena MLAs To Be Decided Today

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A major political development will take place in Maharashtra today where the Assembly Speaker will decide the fate of 16 rebel Sena MLAs who are facing the disqualification threat. Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar will give his verdict on disqualification under anti-defection law against 16 Shiv Sena MLAs including CM Eknath Shinde after the Supreme Court asked the Maharashtra speaker to decide on the issue in a time-bound manner. Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of Shiv Sena has already reached the Supreme Court in the matter. 

Ahead of the verdict, Speaker Narvekar had met CM Shinde which irked the Sena (UBT) faction as the party alleged match-fixing. Uddhav Thackeray said on Tuesday that his party has given an affidavit in the Supreme Court objecting to the meeting held between Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar before the decision on the disqualification petition. On December 15, 2023, the Supreme Court had extended the deadline for deciding on disqualification petitions from December 31 to January 10. The Speaker may announce the verdict around 4pm today. 

While the decision is important for both the Sena factions, it will also decide the fate of CM Shinde who is among the 16 MLAs. If the Speaker chooses to disqualify the MLAs, CM Shinde will have to resign from the post. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has called a second meeting of his Cabinet at 10 am after a late-night meeting held yesterday. 

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that the decision of the Assembly Speaker in the disqualification case of MLAs will have no impact on the Shiv Sena-BJP-NCP coalition government and the government will remain stable. He said that the coalition government is legally valid and hoped that the decision of the Assembly Speaker would provide justice to the MLAs. 

In June 2022, Eknath Shinde and many other Sena MLAs rebelled against the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. After this, Thackeray resigned before the floor test and the coalition government of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) fell. Eknath Shinde became the Chief Minister in June 2022 itself with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Election Commission gave the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and ‘bow and arrow’ election symbol to the Shinde-led faction, while the Thackeray-led faction was given the name Shiv Sena (UBT) and torch symbol. 

Maharashtra will go to the polls around October this year.

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