Uddhav Thackeray Approaches Court Over Speaker's “Real Shiv Sena” Decision

New Delhi:

The Sena vs Sena squabble shows no signs of ending despite Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar ruling last week in favour of the faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. Mr Narwekar sided with the latter, basing his decision on the 1999 version of the undivided party’s Constitution, which did not give Uddhav Thackeray the authority to expel Mr Shinde, meaning he remains a Shiv Sena member.

On Monday afternoon former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray – once the undisputed boss of the Shiv Sena army – moved the Supreme Court to challenge Mr Narwekar’s “real Shiv Sena” decision.

Mr Thackeray has also challenged the Speaker’s decision to reject petitions to disqualify lawmakers, who in June, quit the (then) undivided Shiv Sena to join Mr Shinde’s breakaway faction.

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The ex-Chief Minister had slammed Mr Narwekar’s verdict on the thorny issue of which faction will now be considered the “real” Shiv Sena, and the fate of multiple disqualification petitions filed by each side, as well as a third set by Sharad Pawar’s NCP asking for its rebel MLAs to be sacked.

The Speaker had dismissed all disqualification petitions.

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Calling Mr Narwekar’s reasoning an “insult” to the Supreme Court and the “murder of democracy”, Mr Thackeray accused the Speaker of acting on instructions from the Shinde camp. “… had expressed doubts yesterday that this is a plot to kill democracy,” a furious Uddhav Thackeray said.

If our Constitution is not valid, then why were we not disqualified?” he asked of the Speaker.

Speaking to NDTV after the controversial reveal, Mr Narwekar said the whip served to Thackeray MLAs may not have been properly served, meaning “it was not appropriate to disqualify them”.

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He also said skipping a party meet was more about dissent than violation of rules and so did not call for disqualification. The right to dissent is part of the freedom of speech, he reasoned.

After splitting in June 2022, the two Sena factions had served disqualification notices against each other. The list of the Eknath Shinde faction had 14 of the 16 MLAs supporting Uddhav Thackeray.

The Thackeray faction had filed disqualification petitions against 40 MLAs from Team Shinde.

In February last year, the Election Commission recognised the Shinde faction and gave it ownership of the bow and arrow election symbol of the undivided party founded by the late Balasaheb Thackeray.

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