The Supreme Court’s verdict has come as a great relief to the Eknath Shinde government.
The apex court said that it cannot reinstate the Uddhav Thackeray government as the Shiv Sena (UBT) chief had resigned on his own. It allowed the speaker of the assembly to decide on the issue of disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs of the original Shiv Sena.
It also refused to intervene in the Election Commission’s decision to give the Shiv Sena party and its symbol to Shinde. These decisions will give a much needed stability to the government.
Morale booster for Thackeray camp
For the Thackeray camp, the verdict comes as a morale booster as the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench heavily criticised the governor’s conduct in the political battle. The verdict said that the governor’s decision to order a floor test for the Thackeray government was wrong. It said that the appointment of the Shinde faction’s MLA, Bharat Gogawale, as the whip was wrong. It also referred the Nabam Rebia case regarding the speaker’s power in the disqualification process to a seven-member bench, as demanded by Thackeray. However, it refused to restore Thackeray as chief minister or ask Shinde to step down.
SC verdict welcomed by both sides
The verdict was welcomed by both the sides as one that upheld the democracy. While Thackeray claimed his decision to resign came out of a sense of morality, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that Thackeray’s claim of morality was laughable. “Where was his morality when he joined hands with the Congress-NCP, against whom he had contested the election?” he asked. Shinde claimed that the verdict was proof that his faction was legal and his government constitutional.
Survival of Shinde government crucial for the BJP
The verdict is expected to have a significant political impact on the state as well as at the national level. The survival of the Shinde-led government is crucial for the BJP as Maharashtra returns 48 Lok Sabha members. The national leadership of the BJP may now relax a bit. The survival of the state government will also boost the BJP’s as well as the Shiv Sena’s (Shinde) chances in local body elections.
If Shinde gained more power, that would be detrimental for the Thackeray faction as some more MLAs or people’s representatives in local bodies might switch sides. Some MLAs from other constituents of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi too are likely to join the BJP.
The fact that the Speaker Rahul Narvekar will now decide on the disqualification of 16 MLAs is also expected to tilt the balance of power in the government in favour of the BJP, as Narvekar is a BJP legislator.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)