Speaker meets CM Eknath Shinde before ruling on Shiv Sena disqualification petitions, which Uddhav Thackeray criticises.

Uddhav Thackeray, the president of the Shiv Sena (UBT), criticised Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar on Tuesday for meeting with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde before the latter’s decision on the petitions requesting the disqualification of dissident Shiv Sena MLAs. Uddhav Thackeray compared Narwekar’s meeting with Shinde on Monday to a “judge meeting a criminal” during a press conference. On Wednesday, Narwekar will render a decision regarding the Shiv Sena’s disqualification petitions against Chief Minister Shinde and other MLAs. Shinde’s rebellion resulted in a split within the Shiv Sena in June 2022.

Last month, the Supreme Court gave Narwekar till January 10 to make a decision regarding the cross-petitioners, which were submitted by opposing Shiv Sena groups asking for the disqualification of each other’s MLAs.

The speaker has met with the chief minister twice, according to Uddhav Thackeray, after the Supreme Court ordered Narwekar in May of last year to decide on the Shiv Sena’s disqualification petitions. “What justice is there to be expected from him tomorrow?” asked the former chief of staff. The Maha Vikas Aghadi, which included the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, fell up in June 2022 as a result of Shinde and many other MLAs’ rebellion against the then-chief minister Thackeray.

The Shinde and Thackeray groups filed cross-petitions, requesting action against each other’s MLAs under anti-defection statutes. With the backing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Shinde took over as chief minister following the uprising in June 2022. The NCP’s Ajit Pawar faction joined his government in July of last year. The side led by Shinde was given the name “Shiv Sena” and the symbol of a bow and arrow by the Election Commission, whereas Thackeray’s group was to be known as Shiv Sena (UBT) and have a burning flame as its emblem.

According to Vidhan Bhavan authorities on Monday, Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar would rule on the disqualification petitions against Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and a number of MLAs whose rebellion had split the Shiv Sena in June 2022 on January 10. The Supreme Court had given itself until December 31, 2023, to deliver its ruling. However, a few days earlier, on December 15, the court granted a 10-day extension, rescheduling the decision for January 10.


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