Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde proved his government's majority on the Assembly floor today following a vote by head count.
Aaditya Thackeray, son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, voted against the whip issued by the Shiv Sena chief whip Bharat Gogawale, appointed last night, and may face disqualification proceedings.
Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and senior Congress leader and Vijay Wadettivar did not show up for the vote, sparking speculation.
Team Thackeray MLA Santosh Bangar joined the Eknath Shinde camp minutes before the trust vote. The Shinde camp now has a total of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs.
The test of strength came a day after BJP's Rahul Narwekar was elected Speaker -- a significant move in view of the Sena's pending legal appeal to disqualify 16 rebel MLAs, including the new Chief Minister.
Mr Narwekar last night reinstated Mr Shinde as the Shiv Sena's legislative party leader, and also recognised the appointment of Mr Gogawale as the chief whip of the Sena.
A plea by the Uddhav Thackeray faction, seeking disqualification of 16 MLAs of the Shinde camp, is before the Supreme Court. But even in the case of disqualification of 16 MLAs, the new government will have the numerical advantage.
Eknath Shinde's rebellion - which erupted on the night of June 20 -- had whittled down the numbers of the Uddhav Thackeray faction, with new faces joining the rebel camp every day.
On Wednesday, Mr Thackeray stepped down from the top post after the Supreme Court said he has to prove a majority on the floor of the house as ordered by the Governor.
A day later, Mr Shinde was named the Chief Minister in a shock announcement by the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis. Later in the evening, in a further surprise, Mr Fadnavis -- a former Chief Minister of Maharashtra -- signed up as Mr Shinde's Deputy following pressure from the BJP brass.
Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde proved his government's majority in the Assembly today. This caps two weeks of political surprises that split the Shiv Sena and brought down the Uddhav Thackeray government