Uddhav Thackeray questions majority evidence order, High Court hearing at 5pm

Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, faces a ground test tomorrow

Bombay:
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who was asked to prove his majority tomorrow, has addressed the Supreme Court. Shiv Sena rebels, who have ignored Mr Thackeray’s appeals to return, will move to Goa from Guwahati today for the big vote.

Here’s your 10-point cheat sheet on this great story:

  1. Team Thackeray has gone to the Supreme Court arguing that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s order is illegal as 16 rebel MLAs have yet to respond to their possible disqualification. The governor ordered the showdown a day after BJP leaders met him and told him the Uddhav Thackeray-led coalition had lost its majority.

  2. The rebel camp’s lawyer, NK Kaul, told the Supreme Court that the upcoming hearing about a possible expulsion had nothing to do with proving that he was of legal age. The Supreme Court then said it would consider the matter at 5 p.m. today.

  3. The governor acted at “jet speed,” Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, claiming that calling for an assembly vote was illegal when the Supreme Court had yet to rule on the disqualification of rebel MLAs. The Shiv Sena argues that 16 MLA disqualification notices cannot participate in the ground test until the court rules on their status.

  4. Nearly 40 Shiv Sena MLAs have left Uddhav Thackeray and joined Eknath Shinde, who moved from Mumbai first to Surat in Gujarat and later to Guwahati in Assam, with a group of MLAs growing daily.

  5. After a week in a five-star hotel in Guwahati, the MLAs fly to Goa, around 600km from Mumbai, to take part in the no-confidence vote.

  6. Mr Shinde and some of the rebels went to the Kamakhya Temple in Assam’s capital on the Brahmaputra River this morning, where he told reporters he would return to Mumbai tomorrow.

  7. Team Thackeray had asked the deputy spokesman to disqualify 16 MLAs, including Mr Shinde, prompting the rebel camp to go to the Supreme Court, calling the move illegal.

  8. The court gave the Sena rebel MLAs until July 12 to respond to communications about their possible disqualification.

  9. The strength test will be broadcast live and the procedure will be videotaped by the secretariat of Vidhan Sabha through an independent agency, the governor said. “In order to ensure a free and fair vote, members are encouraged to rise from their seats for the purpose of counting votes…” Mr Koshyari said.

  10. Mr Shinde claims he has the support of nearly 50 MLAs, around 40 of them from the Shiv Sena. The majority mark currently stands at 144 in the 287-strong assembly. The ruling coalition of Shiv Sena, Congress and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has 152 MLAs. The state government will be reduced to a minority without the rebels’ nearly 40 MLAs.

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