Maharashtra: On what grounds did Shiv Sena call for the disqualification of 12 rebels from the Assembly? Will this help Uddhav Thackeray?

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Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu had sent a letter to party MPs asking them to attend the meeting. (Case)

Mumbai: Cornered by its own MPs, the Shiv Sena retaliated on Thursday by writing to the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly demanding the disqualification of 12 rebel MPs. Reacting to the development, Eknath Shinde, the leader of the rebel bloc, said: “You cannot scare us by giving the names of 12 MPs for disqualification because we are supporters of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray. We know the law, so we ignore threats.” What is Shiv Sena’s strategy behind the move?

The Shiv Sena had called a meeting of deputies on Thursday. The rebel deputies are camping in a hotel in Guwahati. They were unable to attend the meeting. The Uddhav Thackeray faction made this fact the ground for requesting their disqualification.

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Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant told ANI that a notice was issued ahead of the meeting saying action would be taken against them if they failed to attend. When they didn’t, Sena wrote to the vice president.

“We have filed a petition with the Deputy Speaker (of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly) and requested that the membership of 12 (MPs) be revoked as they did not attend yesterday’s meeting,” said Sawant.

“Before the meeting notice was issued which said that if you did not attend the meeting, legal action would be taken according to the constitution. Some did not come and some gave unnecessary reasons,” he added.

The Thackeray faction called for the disqualification of Eknath Shinde, Prakash Surve, Tanaji Sawant, Mahesh Shinde, Abdul Sattar, Sandeep Bhumare, Bharat Gogawale, Sanjay Shirsat, Yamini Yadhav, Anil Babar, Balaji Devdas and Lata Chaudhari.

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Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu had sent a letter to party MPs asking them to attend the meeting. The letter stated that if anyone remained absent, said MP would be considered to have decided to voluntarily leave the party.

Meanwhile, Eknath Shinde said MPs cannot be disqualified for not attending the meeting.

“We know your habits and the law too! According to Schedule 10 of the Constitution, the whip is used for assembly business, not for meetings,” he added in a tweet.

What is Shiv Sena’s game behind the disqualification notice?

Shiv Sena is now preparing for the ground test, with Shinde claiming the support of 37 of the party’s 55 MPs in the Maharashtra assembly. The party says it is already in contact with more than 20 MPs who want to return to Uddhav Thackeray’s camp. The Shinde camp needs the support of 37 deputies to escape the clutches of the anti-defection law. If the 37-MP bloc remains united, it can claim to be the real Shiv Sena and seek the party’s ballot symbol in the future. If 12 deputies are disqualified, the Shiv Sena will have broken the bloc. Many MPs may be queuing fearing they will be disqualified under the law. It can also pave the way for the disqualification of other rebels. If all rebel MPs are disqualified, the Sena government will be safe, at least until new elections are held in those seats.

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