Shiv Sena politician Eknath Shinde was demoted from his position ten days after he launched a mutiny against Uddhav Thackeray that brought down the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra.
Thackeray accused Shinde, who had just been appointed chief minister of Maharashtra, in a letter of engaging in “anti-party operations.”
The letter continued, “In exercise of powers granted in me as Shiv Sena party president, I remove you from the role of Shiv Sena leader in the party organization.” Shinde has also “voluntarily” resigned from the party.
The letter is dated June 30, the day Shinde and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis took their oaths as chief ministers.
On June 29, Thackeray, the leader of a coalition government made up of the Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party, and the Congress, resigned from his position as chief minister when the Supreme Court declined to delay the floor test that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had mandated.
Shinde’s group included 39 of the 55 Sena MLAs, therefore it was clear that the government had lost its majority.
Prior to this, the Sena had sought the removal of Shinde as the party’s leader in the Assembly as well as the disqualification of 16 dissident MLAs.
On the other hand, the Shinde camp asserted that because they held the majority, their party was the true Shiv Sena in the legislature.
The Supreme Court decided on Friday to hear the Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu’s petition asking for the suspension of Shinde and 15 dissident MLAs from the assembly, against whom disqualification petitions are still pending.
Prabhu petitioned the top court after Shinde was sworn in as chief minister to have him and 15 other rebels suspended on a variety of grounds, claiming they were “acting as pawns of the BJP, thereby committing the fundamental sin of defection.”