No more crossover, 16 Sena MLAs stay loyal to Uddhav Thackeray
MUMBAI: After days of uncertainty about which of the remaining Shiv Sena MLAs would jump ship to join rebel leader and now chief minister Eknath
’s camp, voting for the speaker’s election on Sunday indicated that the positions were settled for now with 16 MLAs finally remaining in Shiv Sena president Uddhav
’s camp. This clears the air on who is on which side for the confidence vote on Monday.
As the Uddhav Thackeray camp of Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP on Sunday issued separate whips for its members that directed them not to vote in favour of a confidence motion on Monday, political observers said a battle of the whips would be played out once again between the Shiv Sena factions on Monday.
According to reports, BJP and Shinde faction will issue their whips on Monday to vote for the confidence motion.
On Sunday for the election of the speaker, both the Thackeray and Shinde camps had issued whips to all 55 Shiv Sena MLAs. The Shinde camp was able to get BJP candidate
elected with 164 votes in the assembly. The 16 Shiv Sena MLAs from the Thackeray camp voted for its candidate, Rajan Salvi.
The Shinde camp has the support of 39 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, besides nine MLAs from smaller parties and independents. The 16 in the Thackeray camp include his son, former environment minister Aaditya Thackeray. Shinde returned to Mumbai with his MLAs from Goa on Saturday, bringing down the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government 2.5 years after it was formed.
“For now it looks like the rebellion has been stemmed, and 16 Sena MLAs are with the Uddhav camp. It is very unlikely that more MLAs from the Uddhav camp will jump ship. But we will know this only on Monday after the vote of confidence. Many MLAs believed that the whip issued for the vote of confidence is more important than that for the speaker’s election. Those still with the Uddhav camp are loyalists and not likely to jump now,” a political observer said.
Of Narvekar’s 164 votes, 104 votes were from the BJP, 39 from the Shinde camp, one from the MNS, two from Bachchu Kadu’s Prahar Janshakti Party, one from the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, three from the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi and one from Jan Swarajya Shakti, along with 13 independents.
In the speaker’s election, as Shiv Sena members associated with Shinde defied the Thackeray camp’s whip, they may face disqualification proceedings. Similarly, 16 members of the Thackeray camp who defied the Shinde camp’s whip too face disqualification proceedings.
“In all 39 MLAs have violated the whip and voted against it,” said Thackeray camp whip Sunil Prabhu.