Maharashtra is in the Grip of Political Turmoil

Following the rebellion of senior Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde and a substantial number of MLAs from the Uddhav Thackeray-led party, the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) administration is facing a political crisis. Mr Shinde, who has been part of the Shiv Sena for decades and the party dissidents, who are currently camped in Guwahati, claim to have the support of 46 MLAs.

By Sonal Nain, 23 Jun 2022

List of Shiv Sena MLAs Camping in Assam Out

Since 2019, Maharashtra has been ruled by an unusual coalition that includes the vehemently right-wing Shiv Sena, the centrist NCP, and the Congress, as well as independent lawmakers. They managed to put together enough numbers to pass the halfway point of 144 members in the 288-member legislature, defying India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had won the most seats.

The political situation worsened as CM Uddhav Thackeray returned to his customary house, Matoshree, from the Chief Minister’s residence. Thackeray addressed the public through Facebook live, saying he was willing to resign if the dissident MLAs came forward and told him to do so face to face.

Soon after the address, Mr Shinde said the ruling MVA in Maharashtra was an “unnatural alliance” and it was imperative for his party to walk out of the coalition with the NCP and the Congress for its own sake and that of party workers. “It is necessary to quit the unnatural alliance for the sake of Shiv Sainiks and the Shiv Sena. It is important to take a decision in the interest of the state,” Shinde, who is camping in Guwahati along with rebel Sena MLAs, tweeted.

His tweets were in Marathi, with the hashtag #Hindutvaforever. Shinde argued that although the NCP and Congress were growing stronger in the MVA coalition, the Shiv Sena, which leads the government group, and its workers were being methodically weakened.

According to Sanjay Kumar, a Professor and Co-Director of Lokniti, a Research Programme at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, the role of central agencies and the ED in the Maharashtra crisis should not be underestimated because they are a major factor, “I don’t think it has anything to do with ideological differences within the Shiv Sena-NCP alliance, which has been in place for the past 2.5 years. The BJP has a significant role to play in this episode; otherwise, why would these MLAs travel to Gujarat and Assam and not to Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh?”