Maharashtra Crisis: Eknath Shinde has claimed he has the support of more than 50 MLAs
The Supreme Court issued notices to Maharashtra Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, Chief Whip Sunil Prabhu, leader of Legislature party Anil Chaudhary and the Centre today as the tussle for the control of Shiv Sena reached the top court.
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Acting on Eknath Shinde's petition challenging the disqualification notices issued to him and 15 other rebel MLAs last week, the Supreme Court also extended the deadline given to the rebel MLAs to file their responses to the disqualification notices till July 12. Earlier, they were asked to submit their replies by 5.30 pm today.
Shortly after the court verdict, Mr Shinde tweeted, "This is the victory of the Hindutva emperor Balasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva and the thoughts of Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb ..!"
During the hearing, the Supreme Court asked the rebels' lawyer why they did not approach the Bombay High Court first. To this, advocate NK Kaul replied that the rebels' houses and properties are being threatened, and the situation is not conducive for them to pursue their rights in Bombay.
The Uddhav Thackeray faction contended that that there should be no trust vote till the issues pending issues are decided and they should be free to approach the court if the rebels seek a floor test. "Let us not create confusion on something for which there is no foundation today," responded the court.
In a separate plea filed in the Supreme Court today, Eknath Shinde claimed a "serious threat" to the lives of the MLAs of his faction. The Maharashtra government told the court that immediate steps will be taken to provide adequate security to the MLAs who have been served disqualification notices.
The petition filed by Eknath Shinde also said that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance in Maharashtra has lost the majority in the house as 38 of 55 Shiv Sena legislators have withdrawn their support to the coalition.
Sanjay Raut was today served summons by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case. Mr Raut responded with the charge that "this is a conspiracy to stop me". Earlier in the day, the Shiv Sena MP had said that his party was ready for a "street fight and a legal battle".
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has stripped nine rebel ministers of their portfolios. "The portfolios of the rebel ministers were being handed over to other ministers for ease of administration," an official statement said.
Reports suggest that Eknath Shinde, leading the rebellion against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, spoke to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray twice and discussed the "recent political situation" in the state. Mr Shinde's supporters have organised a show of strength in Thane today.
A group of citizens today filed a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court against Eknath Shinde and other rebel Shiv Sena MLAs acusing them of causing "political turmoil". It urged the high court to direct the rebel leaders to return to the state and resume their duties.