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Numbers not on his side, Uddhav Thackeray resigns as Maharashtra CM after SC allows floor test

New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray resigned Wednesday evening, shortly after the Supreme Court allowed an assembly floor test Thursday in which he will have to prove his government’s majority.

Thackeray’s ruling Shiv Sena was greatly reduced in strength due to a revolt in the party, which has made it difficult for Thackeray to remain in power.

In his resignation speech on Facebook, Uddhav Thackeray said he would respect the top court’s decision, and also quit as a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council.

Thackeray’s resignation has made the floor test infructuous as the Governor may now ask someone else to stake claim and prove majority within a certain period of time.

Rebel chief Eknath Shinde has claimed the support of nearly two-thirds of the Sena’s 55 MLAs, which would enable him to split the party without attracting the anti-defection law.

A powerful leader from Thane, Shinde left Maharashtra on 22 June, a day after the Maharashtra Legislative Council poll results gave opposition BJP an extra seat due to cross-voting.

He stayed with his tribe, first in Surat and then in Guwahati – both in BJP-ruled states.

Shinde’s support grew during this time, with Maharashtra MLAs flying out to join him. Questions were ultimately raised whether the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government would survive the revolt.

On Tuesday evening, BJP’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and reportedly questioned the MVA’s credibility.

Koshyari then asked for a special session of the assembly on Thursday and directed the government to prove its majority.

The Shiv Sena immediately approached the Supreme Court calling the floor test “illegal” as the rebel faction was yet to reply to the party’s move to disqualify 16 of its MLAs.

The rebels have time till 12 July to answer to that notice.

Uddhav Thackeray had offered to resign last Wednesday, as soon as the rebel faction left the state for BJP-ruled Gujarat and then Assam.

Reaching out to them, Thackeray said he would quit all posts, provided the MLAs came and spoke to him directly.

He had also left the official chief minister’s residence and moved into his home Matoshree.

Meanwhile, Shinde and his team left Guwahati on Wednesday evening to take part in Thursday’s floor test. “To complete the formalities,” Shinde told the media in Guwahati.

The MVA government, along with main constituents Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, has 168 MLAs in the 288-seat House. The Sena has 55, the NCP 53 and the Congress 44.

Opposition BJP is the single-largest party with a strength of 106 MLAs, while the coalition National Democratic Alliance has 113.

In the recent Rajya Sabha and Maharashtra Legislative Council elections, the BJP bagged an extra seat each due to alleged cross-voting by Sena rebels.

It is also learnt that Devendra Fadnavis is trying to woo Uddhav Thackeray’s estranged cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray for the floor test. The MNS has one MLA in the assembly.

‘I will be here’: Uddhav Thackeray

While putting in his papers, Thackeray said he had come to power “in an unexpected manner” and was also exiting in a similar fashion. He added: “I am not going away forever. I will be here and I will once again sit in the Shiv Sena Bhawan. I will get all my people.”

He expressed his “gratitude” to alliance partners the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party for their support.

Thackeray also said he was satisfied with his Cabinet’s decision, its last, to rename Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar and Osmanabad to Dharashiv. “The cities named by Balasaheb Thackeray,” he added.

Also read: Maharashtra cabinet approves name change for Aurangabad and Osmanabad districts

Source: The Print

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