With Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde camping at a hotel in Gujarat’s Surat along with a dozen Shiv Sena MLAs, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government is said to be in danger.
The development has prompted hectic parleys in the state’s political circles with the ruling alliance partners and the opposition BJP calling emergency meetings to discuss the current scenario.
Meanwhile, let’s take a look at how the numbers stack up in the Maharashtra state Assembly and whether the development can actually lead to a major political turnaround in the state:
How numbers stack up
BJP — 106
Shiv Sena — 55
NCP — 53
Congress — 44
Independents — 13
Others — 10
Vacant — 01
‘Others’ include Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (03), SP (02), AIMIM (02), Prahar Janshakti Party (02), CPI-M, MNS, PWP, Swabhimani Party, Rashtriya Samaj Party, Jansurajya Party and Krantikari Shetkari Party.
Given the current situation, a dozen-odd MLAs from Shiv Sena are with Shinde in Gujarat and nine others are said to join them.
If all these (Shinde + 21 MLAs) jump ship to the BJP, the opposition’s tally will go up to 128 in the 288-member Assembly where the majority mark is 144. It will still require 16 more MLAs to stake claim to form government.
Moreover, the anti-defection law mandates that if two-thirds of the strength of a party agrees to a “merger”, they will not face disqualification proceedings. At present, the Sena’s current strength in the Assembly is 55 MLAs. If the rebels want to merge with BJP, 37 MLAs (two-thirds of 55) have to come together to ensure they do not face disqualification proceedings under the defection law.
The Shiv Sena and the Congress have ruled out any threat to the MVA government with Sena leader Sanjay Raut saying that all the MLAs are loyal to the party and will return to Maharashtra.
The Shinde episode follows a series of setbacks suffered by the MVA government in yesterday’s MLC elections and the recently concluded Rajya Sabha elections. In both the elections, the alliance government lost one seat each to the BJP as a result of cross-voting.