Ten days after Eknath Shinde launched a rebellion against him which led to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Friday removed Shinde from the post ofShiv Sena leader’.
In a letter to Shinde, who was sworn in as Maharashtra Chief Minister a day earlier, Thackeray accused him of “indulging in anti-party activities”. Shinde has also “voluntarily” given up the membership of the party, therefore “in exercise of powers vested in me as Shiv Sena party president, I remove you from the post of Shiv Sena leader in the party organisation,” said the letter.
The letter is dated June 30, the day Shinde took oath as chief minister with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy. Thackeray, who headed a coalition government of Sena, NCP and Congress, stepped down as Chief Minister on June 29 after the Supreme Court refused to stay the floor test ordered by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. With 39 out of 55 Sena MLAs being part of Shinde’s camp, it was apparent that the government had lost its majority.
The Sena had earlier sought disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs, and also removed Shinde as the party’s leader in the Assembly. The Shinde camp, on the other hand, claimed that as they had majority, their group was the real Shiv Sena in the legislature.
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on July 11 the plea of Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu seeking suspension from assembly of Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs against whom disqualification pleas are pending.
After Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister, Prabhu moved the top court seeking his suspension and of 15 rebels on various grounds, alleging that they are “acting as pawns of the BJP, thereby committing the constitutional sin of defection.”