Mutineers of Maharashtra
The Origin of MVA - A Trinity
During the 2019 Maharashtra political crisis, Shiv Sena and BJP broke their alliance over differences in choosing the chief minister as well as other important officials in the legislative assembly election (2019). Shiv Sena which was associated with the NDA led by BJP pulled out their support and joined United Progressive Alliance abbreviated as UPA. UPA is a centre-left political alliance of predominantly left-leaning political parties in India.
Amidst the crisis, the union minister Mr. Arvind Sawant of Shiv Sena in Modi’s cabinet filed his resignation concluding in the party’s complete independence from BJP. This led to leaders such as Sharad Pawar , Sanjay Raut, Ahmed Patel and other leaders across the NCP, INC and Shiv Sena form a new alliance.
On 26th November 2019, Maha Vikas Aghadi or the Maharashtra development front, a state level coalition was born under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray from Shiv Sena, Sonia Gandhi from INC and Sharad Pawar of NCP along with the support of Samajwadi Party, PWPI etc with independent MLAs. After a meeting on the same day, Uddhav Thackeray leader of Shiv Sena was elected president of the MVA and later on 28th November, he swore secrecy and took an oath of the office as the 19th Chief Minister of the state of Maharashtra.
Criticism of MVA by the Public
Though there was no hiding of the fact that people of Maharashtra gave their votes in favour of Shiv Sena-BJP alliance to constitute the state government. It was only post the drama of the crisis where people started feeling resented by their own government. One of the highlights of MVAs injustice on its people was the assault on their free speech. Hitesh Jain wrote that "For people who criticised the government, jail had become the norm and bail an exception. The MVA government missed out on what constitutes a real democracy - pluralism and the right to dissent"
The rise of the rebel leader Eknath Shinde
Eknath Shinde in the entirety of MVAs course felt sidelined and ignored. With sentiments being hurt and left unresolved, Eknath Shinde grew unhappier with Shiv Sena’s alliance with NCP and INC. He thought that the Shiv Sena’s future were not in good hands as meeting with party chief and Uddhav Thackeray had become impossible during those times. He felt that the Shiv Sena was moving away of its main plank of Hindutva. Other reasons such as not getting access to Uddhav Thackeray’s residence and denied Z plus security further added to his negligence with the party.
2/3rd Majority and Anti Defection law
On 22nd June 2022, rebel leader Eknath Shinde and other legislators campaigning in Guwahati were warned that their absence from the Shiv Sena’s meeting would lead to the presumption they wanted to leave the political party and would therefore lead to action against them under the Anti-defection law.
The anti-defection law provides for the disqualification of MLAs who, after being elected on the ticket of a political party, “voluntarily give up their party membership”. But the anti-defection law does not apply if the number of MLAs who leave a political party constitute two-thirds of the party’s strength in the legislature. These MLAs can merge with another party or become a separate group in the legislature.
The 2022 Maharashtra political crisis
Rebel leader Eknath Shinde expressed his disappointment and displeasure with the state government’s current alliance and had been campaigning against Uddhav Thackeray in Assam. Later on he claimed that he had the support of 39 Shiv Sena MLAs in the current Maharashtra assembly and preferred forming a government with the current 113 MLAs with the NDA led BJP. Leaving an approximate of 150 MLAs under Eknath Shinde, surpassing the anti defection laws.
In view of the situation, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari asked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the House by taking a floor test.
A floor test is a legislative procedure through which an incumbent government that is suspected to have lost majority is required to prove it still retains the confidence of the House.
Shiv Sena’s 16 MLAs and other 44 members from INC and 53 from NCP could not compete with Eknath Shinde’s mutiny. Shinde’s admonition about his party leader along with other unhappy party members and moreover supreme court’s refusal of the floor test ordered by Bhagat Singh Koshyari pushed Uddhav Thackeray to be chagrined. As a result, he left the legislative council and resigned from the post of chief minister. He stated “I am not sticking to power. I don't want to play this game”
With Mr. Thackeray's resignation, the unique three-party experiment of the MVA, came to an end. The BJP, which is the single-largest party in the Assembly with 106 MLAs, claimed to form the government. On July 1st, Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as Deputy CM. There’s no doubt that this will impact the upcoming Lok Sabha and general elections even the BMC elections held in Maharashtra as BJP now has another major state after UP and Bihar under its reign.