"Just Because (Rebels) Have Two-Thirds...": Team Thackeray Lawyers Up

The Shiv Sena said it will fight to get 16 of the rebel MLAs disqualified and make them "face the electorate".

Shiv Sena supporters have launched huge protests against the rebels.

Mumbai:

Smarting from a mutiny that continued to grow on Sunday with the addition of its ninth minister, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's team lawyered up to explain why the rebel camp's numbers - now believed to be over 40 MLAs (out of 55) - won't mean much.

"There is a narrative in the media that just because they (rebels) have a 2/3rd majority, they will not face disqualification. You can ask any constitutional lawyer, this is totally wrong. The concept of 2/3rd applies only when there is a merger with another part," senior advocate Devadatt Kamat said at a briefing in Mumbai with Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant.

"(Disqualification) proceedings have been initiated by the Shiv Sena against 16 MLAs. There are several judgments... the Supreme Court has said a legislator's action outside the House, if he commits anti-party activities, he is liable to be disqualified," he said.

Mr Kamat also gave the example of how former Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav was disqualified because he attended a rally by party boss Nitish Kumar's foe-turned-friend-turned-foe Lalu Prasad Yadav.

"The action of going to a foreign state, a BJP-ruled state, meeting with BJP leaders, trying to topple the government, writing letters against the government, amounts to a clear violation... This is our plea to the Speaker," he said.

"They are also saying the Deputy Speaker has no jurisdiction. This is also totally wrong. In the absence of a Speaker, the Deputy Speaker has all the powers. We are going to urge all these 16 MLAs will be disqualified and face the electorate," the lawyer said.

Now in its sixth day, the tussle between Uddhav Thackeray's side and the rebels led by minister Eknath Shinde scaled up on Sunday with Sena leaders, led by top spokesperson Sanjay Raut, launching acerbic attacks on the dissidents while Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, chief strategist of the ruling coalition, held closed-door meetings with alliance partners.

Sources in Mr Thackeray's corner of the ring told NDTV that at least 20 MLAs camping with Mr Shinde are in touch with the Maharashtra Chief Minister even as minister Uday Samant flew to BJP-ruled Assam where the rebel MLAs are holed up at a five-star in Guwahati.

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