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Political crisis in Maharashtra: Can Uddhav Thackeray save govt? Number theory

Mumbai, India - June 21, 2022: Shiv Sena party workers gather outside Sena Bhavan in support of CM Uddhav Thackarey, in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.  (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)Premium
Mumbai, India - June 21, 2022: Shiv Sena party workers gather outside Sena Bhavan in support of CM Uddhav Thackarey, in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT PHOTO)

  • After the rebellion, numbers stack against the Maha Vikas Aghadi but with the anti-defection law by its side and an option to woo small parties, independent legislators Uddhav Thackeray can pull the magic trick

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With the political crisis deepening in the state of Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray does not have many options to save his government after he lost over 35 MLAs in the last 24 hours.

Maharashtra's Minister for Urban Development and a Thackeray loyalist, Eknath Shinde is leading the pack of rebels and lodged in a Surat hotel in BJP-governed Gujarat. Even though reports suggest, Sanjay Kute, the BJP MLA from Jalgaon was seen entering the hotel, Thackeray’s confidantes Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak who were sent to placate Eknath Shinde were not allowed to meet him. 

So what happens next? Can Uddhav Thackeray save his government with NCP Chief Sharad Pawar by his side?

288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has three vacancies due to death of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke and arrest of Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik. This takes down the Assembly's number to 285 and the majority mark hangs at 143. Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) government currently has 55 Shiv Sena MLAs, 53 NCP MLAs and 44 Congress MLAs.  Making a total of 152 MLAs. There are 13 Independents in the House. One of them - Rajendra Patil Yedrawkar - is a minister in the MVA government from the Shiv Sena quota. Similarly, Shankarrao Gadakh, the Krantikari Shetkari Paksh MLA from Nevasa, and Bachu Kadu of the Prahar Janshakti Party are also ministers from the Shiv Sena quota. With the support of 3 independent MLAs the tally is 158.

Meanwhile, BJP which had won 105 seats in 2019 had increased its tally to 106.

But after the recent rebellion, Shiv Sena is on the verge of losing 21 MLAs and an independent MLA's support who had gone ‘incommunicado’ yesterday and are now holed up in Surat hotel. Which takes down Sena's number to 34 and the entire Maha Vikas Aghadi's number to 131. 

However, under the anti-defection law, the new majority of the Maharashtra Assembly stands at 133. And BJP now claims to have the support of 135 MLAs, way past the majority number. But if the Shiv Sena MLAs try to switch over they will have to win by-polls to re-enter the house.

To avoid disqualification under the law, Shinde needs support of 36 MLAs or two-third of the strength of the house. There is no clarity on whether Shinde enjoys support of 36 MLAs.

It would be then left for the 29 independents and legislators from minor parties to play kingmakers.

Despite the numbers, BJP has not called for a no-confidence motion till now.“It's too early to say anything, we're currently waiting & keeping an eye on the situation. Nor Eknath Shinde has sent the proposal to BJP for govt formation neither BJP has sent any proposal to him," Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said at a press conference in Mumbai. Patil added.

 

 

 

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