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Uddhav Thackeray must prove majority tomorrow: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has allowed the floor test ordered by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari tomorrow in a huge setback for the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

There is a buzz that a negative response from the top court may push Mr Thackeray to resign — speculation fed in part by the cabinet meeting held this evening where the government renamed three cities and Mr Thackeray formally thanked the ministers for their help and cooperation.

Mr Thackeray, sources said, had tried to step down twice since the rebellion by Eknath Shinde unleashed the mega political crisis. Both times, he was dissuaded by Sharad Pawar the chief of ally Nationalist Congress Party who had stitched up the alliance two years ago.

The Team Thackeray had questioned the governor’s decision on three key points: The pending disqualification proceedings against 16 rebel MLAs, the Governor’s omission of the mandatory consultation with the Chief Minister and the cabinet and finally, what they called the “undue and unholy haste” in calling a floor test.

“Why a floor test in this haste in this situation? Two NCP MLAs are down with Covid, two Congress MLAs are abroad. The Governor himself just recovered from Covid,”he said.

Mr Singhvi pointed out that the court, by stopping the disqualification process midway following the appeal of the Shinde faction, has enabled the MLAs to seek stopping the disqualification process and then push ahead with a floor test. “How could they vote on June 30 if they stood disqualified from June 22?” he added.

While the Governor holds a certain level of immunity, “it does not mean that the Supreme Court cannot intervene in his decision,” Mr Singhvi pointed out.

The Shinde camp has argued that the floor test and the disqualification procedure are two different issues. A floor test order, they contended, can be issued by the Governor without the advice and aid of a Chief Minister.

Claiming that they are the real Shiv Sena, Mr Shinde’s counsel NK Kaul said, “Today we are not leaving Shiv Sena. We are Shiv Sena. We have 39 out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs with us”.

The Thackeray faction, he contended, is scared of losing the floor test. “They are a hopeless minority within the party and just wants to clutch on to power by any means possible,” he submitted.