Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday held a meeting with his deputy Ajit Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and other party leaders. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut was also present at the meeting.
The meeting came on the day minister Eknath Shinde claimed that he has the support of over 50 MLAs in his revolt against Thackeray’s government. Out of these, 40 MLAs are from the Shiv Sena, he has claimed.
Earlier in the day, the Shiv Sena moved an application to disqualify four more of its rebel MLAs. On Thursday, the party had filed an application to disqualify 12 MLAs.
Meanwhile, one more Shiv Sena MLA, Dilip Lande, reached the Guwahati hotel on Friday afternoon.
On Thursday, 37 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, who are currently in Guwahati, formally backed Shinde as their leader in the Assembly. The rebel MLAs are demanding that the Shiv Sena should quit the ruling alliance formed with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.
8.48 pm: Maharashtra Assembly secretariat calls Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to seek his legal opinion on the current political crisis, including the disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs sought by the Shiv Sena, reports ANI.
8.50 pm: After Shiv Sena sought the disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs, Maharashtra Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni has been called by Assembly Secretariat to seek legal opinion on the current political crisis in Maharashtra, ANI reports.
8.47 pm: Shiv Sena calls a meeting of the party’s national executive committee at Sena Bhavan in Mumbai on Saturday at 1 pm, ANI reports. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who tested positive for Covid-19, will join the meeting through video conferencing.
8.45 pm: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar leaves from Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s family home in Mumbai after a meeting, ANI reports.
7.49 pm: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut arrives at Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s home for the meeting with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other party leaders, reports ANI.
7.20 pm: The Enforcement Directorate attaches properties and land belonging to Shiv Sena leader Arjun Khotkar in a money-laundering case. The properties have been attached under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in a case relating to the illegal sale of a cooperative sugar mills (Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana) in Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank (MSCB) case.
7.13 pm: Shiv Sena workers gather outside Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s home as a meeting between the leader and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other party workers is underway, ANI reports.
7.08 pm: Maharashtra Police has ordered all police stations in the state, especially in Mumbai, to remain on high alert, ANI reports. “Police received information that Shiv Sainiks can take to the streets in large numbers. To ensure that peace prevails, police have been asked to remain alert,” the Maharashtra Police say.
7.04 pm: Hours after Shiv Sena MLA Dilip Lande reached Guwahati with rebel party leader Eknath Shinde, his poster was smeared with ink in Mumbai. Another banner with his picture was torn in the city, ANI reports.
6.45 pm: Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other leaders of the NCP reach Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s home, reports ANI.
6.25 pm: “Nothing is over till it is over,” Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi tells NDTV, when asked if Uddhav Thackeray has any chance of saving his government.
Many of the rebel MLAs in Guwahati want to return but are not able to do so due to the security restrictions they have been put under, Chaturvedi says.
6.08 pm: Office of rebel MLA Mangesh Kudalkar vandalised in Mumbai allegedly by Shiv Sena members, reports ANI.
4.50 pm: Maharashtra Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal reaches the Assembly building, reports NDTV.
4.34 pm: Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde returns to the Guwahati hotel, reports ANI. He had left the hotel around 1.30 pm and reportedly visited a temple.
4.15 pm: Addressing Shiv Sena members virtually, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray says he might have left the official residence, but not his determination, reports PTI.
“Despite the rebellions that the party has faced earlier, it came to power twice,” he adds.
Thackeray had left the chief minister’s official residence on Wednesday night and moved to his family home.
4.10 pm: Former Shiv Sena MLA and executive president of the Maharashtra State Planning Commission, Rajesh Kshirsagar, reaches the Guwahati hotel, reports NDTV.
3.55 pm: Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar says that his party leaders will go to meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at his residence at 6.30 pm today, reports ANI.
“Our stand is the same as yesterday. We will try to keep the government stable,” he says.
3.45 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray says the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs are trying to break the party, reports NDTV.
“Why would I feel bad about those who have left?” he says. “Without using the names of Shiv Sena and Thackeray, how will you move ahead.”
3.09 pm: Meeting of Shiv Sena district chiefs in Mumbai concludes, reports NDTV.
2.46 pm: Assam BJP MLA Taranga Gogoi reaches Guwahati hotel where rebel Shiv Sena legislators are staying, reports ANI.
2.04 pm: Rebel MLAs at the Guwahati hotel release another group photo.
1.59 pm: Another Shiv Sena MLA Dilip Lande reaches the Guwahati hotel, reports NDTV.
1.43 pm: Independent MLAs Mahesh Baldi and Vinod Agarwal write to Maharashtra deputy speaker saying that he does not have the power to disqualify Shiv Sena MLAs, reports NDTV.
1.40 pm: Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray meets his party’s district chiefs at the Shiv Sena Bhavan in Mumbai, reports NDTV.
1.29 pm: Rebel Shiv Sena MLA leaves Guwahati hotel, according to News18. Reports suggest he could be headed to Mumbai.
1.24 pm: Shiv Sena drafts applications to disqualify four more rebel MLAs, reports NDTV. The MLAs are Sada Sarvankar, Prakash Abitkar, Sanjay Raimulkar and Ramesh Bornare.
The applications will be submitted to the deputy speaker once he reaches the Assembly, reports NDTV. On Thursday, the Shiv Sena had submitted an application to disqualify 12 MLAs.
1.10 pm: Assam Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah writes to Eknath Shinde asking him to leave the state, reports ANI.
“Assam is defamed by your presence considering Guwahati as a safe heaven for MLAs who have no respect for constitutional values and loyalty at all,” he writes.
1.08 pm: BJP Legislative Council member Pravin Darekar writes to Maharashtra governor seeking his intervention into the way the Uddhav Thackeray government is “suspiciously taking rapid decisions one after other pertaining to schemes, projects and giving contracts”, reports ANI.
12.43 pm: Maharashtra Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal approves Shiv Sena’s application to appoint Ajay Choudhary as its legislature party chief in the Assembly, The Times of India reports. He has also approved Sunil Prabhu as Shiv Sena’s chief whip, according to The New Indian Express.
Rebel leader Eknath Shinde held both the posts in Shiv Sena. The party had applied to replace Shinde after he threatened to break away.
12.27 pm: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut says that the rebel MLAs have taken a “very wrong step”, reports ANI.
“We also gave them a chance to return to Mumbai,” he says. “Now, we challenge them to come to Mumbai.”
12.03 pm: Pravin Darekar and other leaders of the Maharashtra unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party reach the home of former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, reports ANI.
11.53 am: More rebel MLAs likely to join the Eknath Shinde camp in Guwahati by Friday night, reports NDTV.
11.25 am: Union minister Ramdas Athawale says that most of the MLAs of the Shiv Sena will go with Eknath Shinde and that he would form the government in Maharashtra with supoort from the Bharatiya Janata Party, reports ANI.
11.22 am: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut arrives at YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai to meet Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, reports ANI.
11.17 am: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut admits that the party’s strength in the Maharashtra Assembly has come down, but expresses confidence that rebel MLAs would support the Uddhav Thackeray government if a floor test is held, reports PTI.
“The rebel group claims to have the required figures and democracy runs on numbers,” Raut says. “But figures can change anytime. When the rebels return, it will be a test of their loyalty towards Balasaheb Thackeray and the Shiv Sena.”
10.45 am: The Guwahati Police has detained Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Bhosale, who held a placard outside the hotel where the rebel leaders are lodged, urging Eknath Shinde to return to the party fold, according to ANI.
“Shiv Sena has given a lot to its MLAs...They should return to Matoshree,” he says.
10.35 am: Amid the political crisis, the Shiv Sena has convened a meeting of their party’s district presidents at 12 pm in Mumbai. The meeting will be chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, ANI reports.
10.20 am: Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut alleges that a Union minister has threatened Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar.
“A Union Minister threatened that if Sharad Pawar tries to save the Maha Vikas Aghadi, he will not be allowed to go home, he will be stopped on the road,” Raut says. “Whether the government stays or goes, such language for Sharad Pawar is unacceptable.”
9.15 am: Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde says that he has the support of over 50 MLAs, according to NDTV. “Nearly 40 of them are from the Shiv Sena. Those who have faith in our role will join us. We want to carry forward Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideology,” he says.
8.32 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says the Bharatiya Janata Party is “bulldozing” democracy, reports PTI.
“I feel very sad, and it is unfortunate that it is demolishing the federal structure of this country,” she adds. “It is attempting to topple the Maharashtra government in an unethical and unconstitutional manner. In the forthcoming presidential polls, the BJP is falling short in terms of votes. Hence, they are picking and choosing which government to topple to get the votes needed to elect their nominee for the post of president.”
8.25 am: After Shiv Sena urges Maharashtra deputy speaker to disqualify 12 rebel MLAs, Eknath Shinde in a series of tweets says the party cannot scare them with this move and asserts that the faction led by him is “the true Shiv Sena of Balasaheb Thackeray”.
“According to the 10th Schedule of the Constitution the whip is for Assembly work, not for meeting,” he adds. “There are numerous Supreme Court decisions in this regard.”
8.10 am: Rebel MLA Sanjay Shirsat claims that legislators sought time to meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on numerous occasions, but he never met them, according to ANI.
“If you look at the constituency of any Shiv Sena MLA, from the tehsildar to the revenue officer, no official is appointed in consultation with the MLA,” he says. “We told this to Uddhav ji many times but he never responded to it.”
8.05 am: Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde is seen in a video telling MLAs camping in Guwahati that a “national party” has described their rebellion as historic and has assured all help to them, PTI reports.
The video also shows the MLAs unanimously authorising Shinde to take decisions on their behalf as their group leader.
7.55 am: Thirty-seven rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who are currently camping at a hotel in Guwahati on Thursday write to Maharashtra Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, proclaiming state minister Eknath Shinde as their leader in the legislature, according to PTI.
Zirwal had earlier approved the appointment of Ajay Chaudhary as the leader of the Sena’s legislature party instead of Shinde.
7.45 am: Here are the top developments from Tuesday on the political crisis in Maharashtra:
- Sanjay Shirsat, one the rebel MLAs, wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, saying that his offer to step down from his post did not address their concerns. He claimed that Thackeray would not meet Shiv Sena MLAs at the chief minister’s residence, but would give priority to legislators from the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.
- Only 13 Shiv Sena MLAs attended a meeting called by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Meanwhile, 42 MLAs, including 35 from the Shiv Sena and seven Independents, were seen together at a hotel in Guwahati.
- Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the party will consider exiting the Maha Vikas Aghadi, but that the rebel MLAs would need to discuss the matter with the chief minister.
- The Shiv Sena sought disqualification of 12 rebel legislators, including Shinde, after they did not attend a party meeting on Wednesday.