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After SC verdict on Sena vs Sena: Uddhav says Shinde should resign on moral grounds, Maharashtra CM hits back

Citing the Supreme Court ruling that the floor test conducted by Maharashtra Governor in June 2022 was not in accordance with the law, the leaders from Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena Thursday termed the current Eknath Shinde-led government of Maharashtra ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’.

The apex court held that even as then Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari did not act in accordance with the law by calling for a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly, it would not be able to reinstate the Uddhav Thackeray government as he resigned without facing the test. The apex court also ruled that the Maharashtra Speaker’s decision to appoint Bharatshet Gogawale (backed by the Shinde group) as the Whip of the Shiv Sena party was illegal while adding the Speaker must decide on disqualification petitions of 16 MLAs within a reasonable time.

Soon after the verdict, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “Eknath Shinde won after murdering democracy. He should now resign on moral grounds.”

When asked about his decision to step down as the Maharashtra CM while not facing the no-confidence motion, Thackeray said, “According to the law, it might be wrong, but morally … why do I need to I prove (my majority) to those (MLAs) traitors who betrayed me and my father’s party? I don’t have to.” “They have no right to question me. They are traitors. They took everything from my party, and betrayed us.,” he added,

Meanwhile, the present CM Eknath Shinde said the Supreme Court has endorsed the government with full majority, and this proves our government is fully legal and constitutional. Thackeray had resigned (as the CM in 2022) because his party was reduced to minority, he added.

He also said: “The ECI’s decision of giving Shiv Sena title and symbol bow and arrow (to us) has been upheld by the SC. We took Bal Thackeray’s ideology forward. We saved the bow and arrow.”

Reiterating Shinde’s remarks, his deputy Devendra Fadnavis said the state government was constitutionally and legally formed and hence, there was no question of Eknath Shinde resigning. “Thackeray said he resigned on moral ground. I want to ask where your moral ground was when you betrayed BJP and joined hands with Congress, NCP?” he asked while speaking at a press conference. Thackeray resigned because he knew he has lost numbers, Fadnavis added.

Expressing “complete satisfaction” over the Supreme Court’s decision, he said this was a victory for democracy and the democratic process. “We are fully satisfied with the verdict given by the Supreme Court,” he said. “Those who were speculating that this government will collapse today have been silenced (by the verdict).”

Reacting to the verdict, Thackeray-faction Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut remarked that as the current government in Maharashtra under Eknath Shinde is illegal and formed against the Constitution. “The Supreme Court has said that the Shiv Sena Shinde group’s Whip is illegal… The current govt is illegal and formed against the Constitution,” news agency ANI quoted Raut as saying.

Another Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Anil Parab said the Supreme Court’s judgement is “in favour of Uddhav Thackeray”. “It is on record that there was a violation of Whip and soon they (Shinde faction MLAs) will be disqualified,” ANI quoted Parab as saying.

Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted: “The judgment without literally saying it has called the Maharashtra government illegal and unconstitutional! An unconstitutional call by governor for floor test and an illegal whip deciding the CM to be from his illegal faction.”

Shinde-faction Shiv Sena leader Rahul Ramesh Shewale welcomed the verdict and said it has come as a big relief to the current government. “This is a big relief to the Shinde government in Maharashtra. Now the State will get a stable government. We welcome Supreme Court’s decision,” ANI quoted Shewale as saying.

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