Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Friday called for mid-term elections in Maharashtra, saying that voters of the state must be allowed to voice their stand on the toppling of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, PTI reported.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi – a coalition of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress – was ousted out of power after Eknath Shinde and several other MLAs of Thackeray’s party rebelled against it.

Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister of Maharashtra on June 30, while the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Devendra Fadnavis took oath as his deputy. On July 4, Shinde won a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly. He got 164 votes in his support, significantly above the majority mark of 145, while 99 MLAs voted against him.

Thackeray has approached the Supreme Court against Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari’s decision to invite Shinde to form the government. He has also challenged the Assembly proceedings during the floor test, arguing that 16 rebel MLAs against whom disqualification proceedings are pending should not have voted.

The court on Friday agreed to hear Thackeray’s plea on July 11, PTI reported.

At a press conference held after the Supreme Court’s decision, Thackeray said that the July 11 verdict will not just decide the future of Shiv Sena, but of Indian democracy. He added that according to constitutional experts, there can be a split in a legislature party, but the original party cannot be terminated.

“The legislature party and the original party are two different entities,” he said. “There should be no confusion over the symbol. Shiv Sainiks should be rest assured that the bow and arrow symbol will remain with us.”

The Shiv Sena president also said that the change in power could have happened gracefully after the 2019 Assembly elections instead of the way it happened because of the recent rebellion.

Thackeray was referring to the Shiv Sena’s proposal in 2019 to the Bharatiya Janata Party to form a coalition government. It had proposed to have a chief minister from the two parties for a tenure of two-and-a-half years each.

BJP did not agreed to the idea, following which Shiv Sena allied with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.

The crisis

Shinde had claimed the support of 39 of the 55 Shiv Sena MLAs and 10 Independent legislators, reducing the Thackeray-led faction of the party to a minority in the Maharashtra Assembly. The rebel MLAs were demanding that Thackeray sever his ties with its Maha Vikas Aghadi government partners – the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.

The revolt had pushed the state into a crisis. Subsequently, the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded Thackeray face a vote of confidence.

On June 29, Thackeray resigned after the Supreme Court rejected the Shiv Sena’s plea against the governor’s decision asking his government to face a floor test.