The Eknath Shinde-led rebel faction has claimed that the number of Shiv Sena MLAs supporting them will eventually cross 50 mark. “We will arrive at a decision in three or four days and thereafter, we will directly go back to Maharashtra,” said rebel MLA Deepak Kesarkar.
“One to two more MLAs will come and join us. With their support and other Independents, our strength will be increased to 51,” news agency ANI quoted Kesarkar as saying. The Shinde camp currently has the support of more than 40 out of the total 55 MLAs of Shiv Sena.
On Sunday, Uday Sawant became the ninth Maharashtra minister to join the rebel camp. So far, Maharashtra cabinet ministers Gulabrao Patil, Dada Bhuse, Sandipan Bhumre, and ministers of state Shamburaje Desai and Abdul Sattar have joined the rebel camp.Another minister, Bachu Kadu of Prahar Janshakti Party, and an Independent minister from Sena quota, Rajendra Yedravkar, have also been camping with Shinde
The rebels claim they have a two-thirds majority, which would enable them to split the party in the assembly without invoking the disqualification laws.
Shinde on Sunday moved the Supreme Court against the disqualification notice issued by the deputy speaker to him and 15 other rebel legislators. The matter is likely to be heard today.
A vacation bench of justices Surya Kant and J B Pardiwala is likely to hear on Monday the plea by Shinde, who along with a sizeable number of Sena MLAs, is currently camping in Guwahati in Assam since June 22.
The rebel group led by Shinde is demanding that Shiv Sena should withdraw from the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, which also comprises the Congress and NCP, but Sena supremo and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has refused to give in and the party has now asked the dissidents to quit and contest polls again.
The Maharashtra legislature secretariat on Saturday had issued ‘summons’ to 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs including Shinde, seeking written replies by the evening of June 27 to the complaints seeking their disqualification.