Mumbai: The Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar announced his verdict on the MLA disqualification case on Wednesday, declaring that the Eknath Shinde faction is the legitimate Shiv Sena party. The verdict came after a long and contentious legal battle between the Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray factions, both of whom claimed to represent the true Shiv Sena.
Narvekar said that his decision was based on the guidelines of the Supreme Court and the Election Commission and that he had examined all the arguments and evidence presented by both sides. He said that the verdict was 1215 pages long, and he read out some of the key points from it. He said that the most important factor was the recognition of the Shinde faction as the real Shiv Sena by the Election Commission and the validity of the 1999 constitution of the party. He rejected the constitution and the affidavit submitted by the Thackeray faction, saying that they were undated and invalid.
The MLA disqualification case stemmed from the political upheaval in June 2022, when Eknath Shinde, along with 15 other Shiv Sena MLAs, toppled the Maharashtra government and formed a new alliance with the BJP. Shinde became the new Chief Minister of the state and claimed that his faction was the true heir of the Shiv Sena legacy. Uddhav Thackeray, the son of the late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, challenged this claim and filed a petition in the Supreme Court to disqualify the rebel MLAs. Shinde also filed a counter-petition to disqualify the MLAs of the Thackeray group. The Supreme Court referred the matter to the Assembly Speaker, who was given the deadline of January 10th to decide on the eligibility and disqualification of the MLAs.
The verdict sparked jubilation among the Shinde faction, who gathered at the party office to celebrate. The Thackeray faction expressed disappointment and anger and accused the Speaker of being biased and unfair. Uddhav Thackeray also approached the court again, questioning the role and authority of the Speaker. The verdict is likely to have far-reaching implications for the political scenario of Maharashtra and the future of the Shiv Sena.