"Why Were We Not Disqualified," Uddhav Thackeray Questions Speaker's Move

Uddhav Thackeray said, "I had expressed my doubts yesterday that this is a ploy to kill democracy... We will see whether a case of contempt of the Supreme Court an be made out or not"

'Why Were We Not Disqualified,' Uddhav Thackeray Questions Speaker's Move
Mumbai:

The decision of Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwkar, declaring the faction of the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as the real party, is an "insult of the Supreme Court and murder of democracy," Uddhav Thackeray said this evening. Speaking to reporters after the Speaker's announcement, Mr Thackeray also announced that his Shiv Sena UBT faction will file a challenge in court.

Mr Narwekar, he alleged, was put in place by the Shinde faction with an ulterior motive. "The way he made Narvekar sit, it was clear that he was in collusion. I had expressed my doubts yesterday that this is a ploy to kill democracy... We will see whether a case of contempt of the Supreme Court an be made out or not," Mr Thackeray said.  

Mr Narwekar today named Mr Shinde's faction as the "real Shiv Sena", basing his decision on a 1999 version of the party constitution that is with the Election Commission. The version of the constitution given by Mr Thackeray in 2018 is "not on record", he said.

Going by that constitution, Uddhav Thackeray did not have the power to remove Eknath Shinde from Shiv Sena, Mr Narwekar said, while delivering his verdict on disqualification petitions pending for since June last year.

The disqualification petitions from both camps, though, were dismissed by the Speaker.

"If our Constitution is not valid, then why were we not disqualified," questioned Mr Thackeray.

"He (the Speaker) has made a thief the master of the House," Mr Thackeray said, voicing doubts that Mr Narwekar had any idea of what he was tasked with by the Supreme Court.

"He has given a decision that exceeds the brief of the Supreme Court. The court had given a framework, but he distorted it into something else... He thinks he is above the Supreme Court. How can a tribunal be above the court? He should have made laws against party hopping stricter. Instead, he was busy clearing a path for himself," Mr Thackeray said, pointing out that Mr Narwekar has "changed parties many times".

The Shinde group had rebelled in June 2022, breaking away and forming government with the BJP.  On May 11 last year, the Supreme Court ruled that Mr Shinde would continue as the Chief Minister.

The court said it could not reinstate the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government headed by Mr Thackeray as he had chosen to resign without facing a floor test. But the court also criticized Governor BS Koshyari's handling of the situation. A floor test is not the way to resolve an intra-party dispute, the judges said.

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