Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Minister Eknath Shinde Tuesday early morning dropped a bomb on the MVA government in the state after reports of him camping in a hotel in Gujarat’s Surat emerged. Soon it was confirmed that Shinde has gone incommunicado and had also taken 21 party MLAs with him to the Surat hotel.
Shinde’s move prompted Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to send a delegation to Gujarat where they conveyed his message to Shinde. However, media reports have suggested that the disgruntled Sena leader has rejected the offer and has said that he will not return to Shiv Sena.
Meanwhile, the BJP has distanced itself from the ongoing turmoil in the state but said that if the party receives any proposal from Eknath Shinde to form a government, they would “definitely consider it”. Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil today also said that some BJP leaders will also meet Shinde camping in a Surat hotel in their “personal capacity”.
Now, with uncertainty looming over the Maharashtra MVA government’s stability, the stand of 29 legislators from smaller parties and Independents is likely to be crucial.
Number game in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly:
In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs, NCP (53), Congress (44), Bahujan Vikas Agahdi (three), Samajwadi Party, AIMIM and Prahar Janshakti Party two each. MNS, CPI-M, PWP, Swabhimani Paksha, Rashtriya Samaj Party, Jansurajya Shakti Party and Krantikari Shetkari Paksha have one MLA each. Meanwhile, the BJP is the single-largest party in the Assembly with 106 legislators.
Any party or alliance needs 144 MLAs to be in power with a simple majority. The MVA, comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, the government had won the trust vote on the floor of the Assembly on November 30, 2019, with 169 MLAs voting in favour of the coalition.
There are 13 Independents in the House. One of them – Rajendra Patil Yedrawkar – is a minister in the MVA government from the Shiv Sena quota. Similarly, Shankarrao Gadakh, the Krantikari Shetkari Paksha MLA from Nevasa, and Bachu Kadu of the Prahar Janshakti Party are also ministers from the Shiv Sena quota. The Prahar Janshakti Party has two MLAs in the House.
Of the 13 Independents, six are supporters of the BJP, five have backed the Shiv Sena, while the Congress and NCP enjoy the support of one Independent each. Vinay Kore (Jansurajya Shakti Party) and Ratnakar Gutte (Rashtriya Samaj Paksha) are also BJP supporters. Besides, Devendra Bhuyar (Swabhimani Paksha) and Shyamsunder Shinde (PWP) are NCP supporters.
What will happen if MLAs with Eknath Shinde decide to switch over?
The Shiv Sena currently has 55 MLAs in the state Assembly. If the 21 MLAs, who are reportedly camping with Shinde, resign, the Shiv Sena’s numbers in the Assembly will come down to 34, which will bring down the MVA’s strength in the House to 131.
If the 22 MLAs, including Shinde, resign, the new majority mark in the house will decrease to 134. However, if these 22 Sena MLAs try to switch over, they will need to resign under the anti-defection law and get elected back in bypolls.