Due to legal advise BJP kept Devendra Fadanvis away from CM post print

Umakant Deshpande

G The political conflict in the Shiv Sena is not a split but an intra-party dispute and Eknath Shinde was given the Chief Ministership by the BJP to legally prove that the majority of MLAs had changed the leader through democratic means and to get rid of his disqualification under the Defection Act. Sources told ‘Loksatta’ that since Devendra Fadnavis is not very friendly with the Union Home Minister Amit Shah and that a Brahmin should not become the Chief Minister for the second time, along with the political issues, Fadnavis’ address for the post of Chief Minister was cut due to the advice of legal experts.

Chief Justice N.V. in the Shiv Sena split case. Arguments took place for about one and a half hours on Wednesday before a three-judge bench comprising Justice Ramana, Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli. Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that the 39 MLAs who were with Shinde, on behalf of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s group, violated the party mandate and should be disqualified under the provisions of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution as their conduct was indicative of desertion. Arguing on behalf of the Shinde group, senior lawyer Harish Salve said that this conflict does not fall under the Anti-Defection Act, these MLAs have not left the party, it is only an intra-party dispute. If the MLAs of a political party do not give time to the Chief Minister and are not satisfied with the performance of the Chief Minister, they have the right to change their leader by majority vote within the party democratically. These MLAs have also done the same and since this is an internal party dispute and they say that they belong to the Shiv Sena, the defection law cannot be applied in this case. Salve also gave an example of the split in Congress in 1969.

At the same time, the new government came to power after Uddhav Thackeray resigned and Thackeray did not face the majority test, which means that there is no majority within the party behind him. Therefore, senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani argued on behalf of the Shinde group that the MLAs who were with Shinde took majority decisions within the party. Therefore, there is a possibility that Shinde was given the post of Chief Minister to prove that the coup in the state is only an internal dispute within the Shiv Sena. Had the BJP given Fadnavis or another BJP leader the post of Chief Minister, it would have created a picture that the Shinde group had broken away from the party and supported the BJP government. From that, they could have got into trouble even under the Defection Act. But now since the Chief Minister is Eknath Shinde of Shiv Sena and elections are not imposed on the people, this is an attempt to show that BJP has supported the Shinde government. Sources said the coup in the state was a way to legally show that there was a change in party leadership and escape disqualification under the Defection Act.

Is the BJP leadership waiting for the legal obstacles to be removed?

The court has not stayed the expansion of the cabinet. Meanwhile, the BJP-Shinde group is claiming that the ministerial posts and accounts have been shared. But BJP party leaders are not giving the green light to the expansion, sources said that they may be waiting for the removal of legal hurdles.

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