With the Supreme Court on Monday staying the disqualification proceedings against 16 rebel Shiv Sena legislators led by Shinde till July 11, decks are cleared for a showdown in the floor of the House in coming days. The fall of the Udhav Thackeray-led MVA government is imminent and the BJP is likely to form the government with support from rebel Shiv Sena and Independent MLAs before July 12.
According to well-placed sources, the new government is likely to be headed by Devendra Fadnavis while rebel Shinde may serve as his deputy. The Shinde faction may get eight berths – four Cabinet and four state ministers.
In another development, Fadnavis met the Governor, Bhagat Singh Koshyari. He said, “We have told the Governor that he should ask the Chief Minister to conduct a floor test and prove majority.”
Working behind the scene, the BJP, according to well-placed sources, would not go to the governor demanding a no-confidence vote. Instead, the job has been entrusted to Bacchu Kadu, former
minister of state and leader of Prahar Janshakti Paksh. Kadu is in Guwahati with rebel MLAs led by Shinde and is expected to hand over a letter to the Governor of Maharashtra demanding a floor test on behalf of the Shinde faction. This may happen on Wednesday or day later, but it is certain to happen, said the sources.
The Shinde has 41 rebel MLAs in his camp, apart from Independents, and 14 Shiv Sena MLAs may join him upon his return to Mumbai on the day of the floor test. Highly placed sources in the BJP said that all decisions that the MVA government has passed in recent days will be reviewed and will be rescinded if they are not found in order.
Putting up a brave front, Thackeray on Tuesday appealed the rebel MLAs camping in Guwahati to come back to Mumbai and thrash out all the issues one to one.
However, in a prelude to the formation of government, former Chief Minister and BJP leader Fadnavis on Tuesday left for Delhi to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other senior leaders to discuss the strategy on no-confidence motion. The BJP has already postponed the meeting of its executive, which was scheduled to take place in Aurangabad on July 12 and 13. The saffron party has so far refused to play the game openly. It will step only when Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari calls the House for a floor test.
Earlier in the day, the Shinde camp was huddled in a closed door meeting at Radisson Blu in Guwahati to decide future course of action. The rebels discussed three main issues: Who will move the no-confidence motion against the government, rebels or Independents or the BJP; when to ask the Governor to conduct floor test; and government formation – how many cabinet berths Shinde camp will get. Friction on several portfolios such as revenue, PWD and agriculture was reported by sources. Meanwhile, it was reported that Thackeray spoke to BJP leader Fadnavis on June 21 and sought a patch up with BJP but the beleaguered chief minister was cold shouldered. However, Shiv Sena on Tuesday issued a statement refuting the report. Shiv Sena spokesperson Harshal Pradhan said, “Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray called Devendra Fadnavis to save the government some such news is going on but this news is only to mislead. Whatever, Udhav Thackeray has to say, he speaks publicly.”
Speaking to The Daily Guardian Review, sources said that Thackeray made up his mind to resign on at least two occasions, first after his Facebook address and then after addressing departmental secretaries a day later. But on both occasions, NCP leader Sharad Pawar persuaded him to not do so.