Almost a week since the rebel MP's led by Eknath Shinde camped outside of Maharashtra after going incommunicado, the political crisis is nowhere near settling down.
On Monday, the Supreme Court began the hearing process on two petitions; first one challenging the decision by Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal to recognise Ajay Chaudhary as the leader of Shiv Sena party in place of Shinde. Second petition sought to challenge the disqualification notices served on Shinde and 15 other MLAs.
Why not the Bombay High Court?
Eknath Shinde's lawyer, when questioned as to why he did not approach the Bombay High Court with his pleas against the disqualification of MLAs and appointment of Ajay Chaudhary as the Sena leader, told the Supreme Court, "A minority of the legislative party is subverting the state machinery, attacking our houses. They're saying that our dead bodies will return from Assam. The atmosphere is not conducive for us to exercise out rights in Mumbai."
Supreme Court issues notices
On Monday, the Supreme Court also issued a notice to Deputy Speaker, Secretary of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and others on the pleas filed by rebel Shiv Sena MLAs challenging the disqualification notices served on them. The matter has been listed for next hearing on July 11.
Of political games and crisis
A development that is being seen as a continuation of politics in Maharashtra, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut in connection with a case on irregularities in the Patra chawl redevelopment project in Mumbai's Goregaon area. Most of the political leaders, when questioned about the ongoing political turmoil in Maharashtra, chose to remain silent, saying that the matter was pending before the Supreme Court.
MVA stands united, in government or opposition
In political crisis, some alliances buckle under pressure, others break completely, while a few do not even bend. Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chauhan said that the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government comprising Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress stood firmly together, "whether in the government or in the opposition." The former Maharashtra Chief Minister also said that the political upheaaval in the state was a mastermind of BJP, being orchestrated by misusing central investigative agencies.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, meanwhile, handed over some of the key portfolios, belonging to five absent ministers and four ministers of state to others so that the day-to-day functioning did not get compromised.
Both security and scrutiny outside the hotel
The luxury property, where the MLAs have been camping, has received a lot of press and publicity in national media in the past few days. On Monday, the security arrangements were tightened in the Guwahati hotel, where rebel Shiv Sena MLAs have been stationed.
Several advocates, senior police and government officials were also seen entering and exiting the hotel, though Shiv Sena President from Manipur was not allowed to meet the legislators. The MLAs are likely to extend their stay at the hotel.