Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar on Thursday began hearing the disqualification petitions filed against each other by two rival Shiv Sena outfits led by chief minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray. Last year, the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government collapsed after a rebellion in the then undivided Shiv Sena with Shinde and several other MLAs teaming up with the Bharatiya Janata Party. After Eknath Shinde became the chief minister with the BJP’s support, the two factions of the Shiv Sena filed disqualification pleas against each other. The matter also reached the Supreme Court, which asked the Maharashtra assembly speaker to make a decision.
Shinde has successfully claimed the Shiv Sena name and poll symbol from the Election Commission of India.
On Thursday, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader and whip Sunil Prabhu’s petition was taken up for hearing by Narwekar. Prabhu has demanded the disqualification of the Shiv Sena MLAs who didn’t follow the whip when they had gone with Eknath Shinde. He has also requested the speaker to hear the entire matter together.
The counsel for the Shinde-led Shiv Sena said that a copy of Prabhu’s petition must be given to his side.
Narwekar asked both sides to make the required documents available and share them with each other, giving them two weeks to do so. The date for the next hearing will be decided after that, said Advocate Anil Singh, representing the Shinde camp, while speaking with the media at the Vidhan Bhavan premises.
“The hearing began today. For the first petition filed by Sunil Prabhu against the 40 MLAs of Shiv Sena, the speaker has given time of two weeks. We had some objections regarding this petition, which we raised today in front of the speaker,” Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Shirsat told News18.
Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Ravindra Waikar said that the speaker should decide the matter soon. “The way lawyers had represented our side in the Supreme Court and high court, similarly they represented our side today in front of the speaker. We had requested that the hearing of the main petition should start as early as possible but the other party is using delay tactics by asking for time. According to the Supreme Court’s order, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sunil Prabhu is the whip. Now the speaker will have to discuss and make a decision regarding the MLAs who had gone against Prabhu’s whip and voted. Though the apex court has given 3 months to decide the matter, looks like the other party wants to delay it further. We want the speaker to make a decision on this matter as early as possible,” he told News18.