"Not At All Surprising": Sharad Pawar On Speaker's Verdict On Sena Split

In a huge relief to Eknath Shinde, the Maharashtra Speaker held that the Shiv Sena faction led by Mr Shinde was the "real political party" when rival groups emerged in June 2022.

'Not At All Surprising': Sharad Pawar On Speaker's Verdict On Sena Split

Sharad Pawar said Thackeray Sena will have to approach the Supreme Court over the verdict (File)


Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar's verdict in the Shiv Sena MLAs' disqualification case, which went in favour of the faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, was "not at all surprising" but should be challenged in the Supreme Court by the group led by Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on Wednesday.

In a huge relief to Mr Shinde, Mr Narwekar held that his Sena faction was the "real political party" when rival groups emerged in June 2022.

Speaking to reporters, Sharad Pawar, an ally of Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray, said the verdict was "not at all surprising" and the collective opinion of all (Maha Vikas Aghadi constituents) had been that it would not be in favour of the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena.

The opposition MVA consists of the Shiv Sena (UBT), the Congress and the NCP (Sharad Pawar group).

"People in the government, including Chief Minister Shinde, had on several occasions spoken about what sort of decision would be coming and it shows they had an inkling about the verdict (going in their favour) and that assurance got reflected in their statements," said Mr Pawar.

Uddhav Thackeray will have to go to the Supreme Court, as looking at the text of the ruling, there was good reason to believe that his faction would get justice, the veteran politician said.

Mr Narwekar's ruling put a stress on the legislative party, he noted.

"In the decision delivered by a five-judge bench in Subhash Desai vs government (in a case related to the split in the Sena in June 2022), the importance was given to the organizational structure of the party. The Supreme Court stated that the organisational structure is more important than the legislative party. The Speaker talked repeatedly about who had the majority in the legislative assembly... but the Supreme Court had said that the right to appoint a whip lies with the party and not the legislative party," Mr Pawar said.

The lawyers of the Sena (UBT) group had sought action against 16 MLAs of the Shinde faction for violating a whip, but the Speaker held that Sena (UBT)'s Sunil Prabhu had no right to issue a whip while announcing that MLAs of both sides could not be disqualified, the NCP leader said.

"The Speaker took a completely different stand from that of the Supreme Court and this makes it a very good case for Sena (UBT) in the Supreme Court," he said.

The constituents of the MVA and other like-minded parties have a good opportunity to go to the people and tell them how the guidelines given by the Supreme Court were ignored and how this decision was not as per law but a political decision, Mr Pawar said.

"Citing this verdict, we can explain to people how power can be misused, and we will start soon," he said.

Every person in Maharashtra knows who formed and expanded the Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar added.

The Speaker's ruling showed that there was no intention to deliver a verdict as per the Supreme Court's judgement on the Sena split, and it will also apply to others, he said, apparently referring to similar petitions filed by the warring NCP factions led by him and his nephew Ajit Pawar. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)