This Article is From Jun 21, 2022

Team Thackeray In Turmoil: The Possible Scenarios

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance and the BJP won five seats each in the Legislative Council elections.

The MVA government of the Sena, NCP and the Congress currently has 152 legislators.

New Delhi:

The numbers game in Maharashtra -- where the ruling alliance led by Shiv Sena has been thrown into turmoil by rebel minister Eknath Shinde -- throws up four possible scenarios that include President's Rule. This evening, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Mr Shinde had a 10-minute telephonic conversation, but remained far from a breakthrough.

Sources said Mr Shinde has demanded that the Sena renew its alliance with the BJP and rule the state. The Sena and the Congress accused the opposition party of engineering the situation to topple the government as in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

Pulled up by the Chief Minister over cross-votings in the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections, Mr Shinde has decamped to BJP-ruled Surat with 22 MLAs -- 21 from the Sena and one from the BJP.

The total strength of Maharashtra Assembly stands at 288. With one legislator dead, the number is down to 287, putting the majority mark at 144. If the MLAs led by Mr Shinde resign, the new majority mark will be 133.

The Sena's number will drop to 34 and the ruling coalition's strength to 130. The BJP has claimed it has 135 MLAs.

Under the circumstances, there are two very likely scenarios. The first involves Mr Shinde splitting the Sena, forming a new party with the splinter group and allying with the BJP. While this is possible, what makes it difficult is that to escape the anti-defection law, Mr Shinde needs to have 37 MLAs on his side  -- many more than he appears to have currently.  

The second possibility is Mr Thackeray talking some of the MLAs with Mr Shinde to return and avert a crisis. This appears likely, with Mr Thackeray already reaching out to the rebels.

The third possibility is the BJP welcoming all rebels and defectors into its fold as happened in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. This, however, opens the MLAs to action including suspension, and they can return to the assembly only after winning another election on a BJP ticket.

The last scenario is that Sena MLAs defect, the government falls but neither side has numbers to form government and President's rule is imposed. This, however, is likely to be a long shot.