Mumbai: All eyes are on Maharashtra’s State Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar's decision regarding the disqualifications of 16 Shiv Sena MLAs which he will announce on January 10. The decision, coming a few months before the Lok Sabha elections, will have a significant impact on Maharashtra's political dynamics. Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray had demanded disqualification of the rebel MLAs which could reduce Eknath Shinde government in the state to minority. The order will eventually be submitted to Supreme Court for further assessment.
The decision on Wednesday comes three days after Rahul Narwekar held a meeting with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. This meeting is seen as a pivotal development that could determine the fate of Shinde and his government. Narvekar is likely to announce his decision at 4 PM on January 10.
The startling unfolding of events
1. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde exited Uddhav Thackeray's Govt with 39 rebels and formed a govt with the BJP in June 2022
2. Miffed with the move, Uddhav Thackeray team filed disqualification petitions against 16 rebel MLAs including Shinde
3. Rahul Narwekar was appointed as the speaker of Maharashtra Assembly and Eknath Shinde won floor test in July 2022
4. Fight began over Party Symbol and Party name as Shinde moved Election Commission (EC) to stake claim for both
5. Team Uddhav Thackery knocked top Court's doors and challenged the proceedings and sought suspension of rebel MLAs including Shinde
6. EC allotted new names and symbols to both the Sena factions in October 2022 and froze the original symbol
7. Finally EC awarded the original name and symbol to Shinde's party in February 2023
8. Supreme Court questioned the then Maharashtra Governor B S Koshyari for acting beyond his powers to order a floor test contest. Top Court however ruled that Shinde will continue to remain CM in May 2023
9. Supreme Court in July 2023 issued notice to Speaker questioning the delay in deciding disqualification petitions against Shinde and his MLAs following which speaker issued notices to 40 MLAs of Shiv Sena and 14 MLAs of Shiv Sena (UBT)
10. SC sets deadline for delivering the verdict as December 31, 2023 but some days before that, on December 15, the Apex court gave a 10-day extension and set January 10 as the new date for a decision.
Although Narwekar's decision will close to seal the fate of the two parties at loggerheads, either of the parties can possibly move Supreme Court if the Speaker's decision is not in their favour.