Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has asked the Supreme Court to restrict Shiv Sena MLAs - "pawns of the BJP" who rebelled against him - from participating in assembly proceedings.
"The delinquent MLAs who have been acting as pawns of the BJP, thereby committing the constitutional sin of defection, ought not to be allowed to perpetuate their sin even for a single day by permitting them to continue as members of the assembly," Team Thackeray said in a petition to the Supreme Court today.
Just after the rebel MLAs led by Eknath Shinde started their revolt on Monday last, Team Thackeray had asked the Deputy Speaker to disqualify 16 MLAs, including Mr Shinde, who is now the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, with the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis backing up as his deputy.
The rebel MLAs then went to the Supreme Court claiming any move to disqualify them would be illegal. The court had set Monday for a hearing on the disqualification matter.
"Suspend the 16 rebel MLAs against whom disqualification proceedings are pending as an interim measure. Restrain them from participating in any of the house proceedings," Mr Thackeray's lawyer, Kapil Sibal, told the Supreme Court, after which the court said it will hear the matter on Monday.
After the Mr Shinde camp managed to form government with the BJP's help, the battle has moved to taking control of the Shiv Sena, the party founded by Mr Thackeray's father Bal Thackeray.
The former Chief Minister has said the rebels can't claim to represent the Shiv Sena.
"Despite the rebellion carried out by the Eknath Shinde faction, the original Shiv Sena political party remains under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray...who was elected president of the Shiv Sena way back on 23.01.2018 when the organisational elections of the were conducted and the same was communicated to the Election Commission on 27.02.2018," Team Thackeray told the Supreme Court today. This means only the Election Commission can decide who represents the Shiv Sena.