CM Eknath Shinde announces reduction in VAT on fuel
Geetanjali Minhas | July 5, 2022 | Mumbai
After the Bharatiya Janta Party orchestrated rebellion in the Shiv Sena partly led by Eknath Shinde who took away with him a majority of MLAs, the Eknath Shinde-BJP government proved majority in the state assembly floor test, crossing the midway mark (144) getting 164 votes in their favour. The Nationalist Congress Party's Ajit Pawar became the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the house.
Just before the trust vote on Monday, two MLAs of the Uddhav Thackeray faction, Santosh Bangar and Shyamsundar Shinde, also joined the Eknath Shinde camp.
On June 30, Shinde took oath as the chief minister of Maharashtra. BJP's Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the deputy CM.
In the 287-member assembly (after the death of a Shiv Sena MLA recently), Shinde has 39 Shiv Sena dissidents backing him in addition to the BJP securing 164 votes.
99 MLAs were siding with MVA with 8 votes less it received during the election of state assembly speaker one day earlier in the special 2-day assembly session.
NCP Legislative party leader Jayant Patil had proposed Ajit Pawar's name for the LoP which was approved by the assembly.
In the bitter fight, a day prior to the crucial trust vote, assembly speaker Rahul Narvekar removed Shiv Sena MLA Ajay Chaudhary as the legislative party leader. Narvekar, the BJP MLA from Colaba in South Mumbai, had polled 164 votes and his rival Rajan Salvi of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena got 107.
The 24 hours between the Speaker’s election and the trust vote saw MVA lose 8 more lawmakers. It got 107 votes in the Sunday election but only 99 on Monday.
Narwekar also reinstated the new chief minister Shinde as the Shiv Sena's legislative party leader and also recognised the appointment of Bharat Gogawale as the chief whip of the Sena, removing the Uddhav-led Shiv Sena’s Sunil Prabhu on Sunday. Gogawale also petitioned to the assembly speaker for suspension of 16 MLAs of party for violation of whip.
Several MLAs of Shiv Sena including Aaditya Thackeray left the House after the trust vote. Many opposition MLAs including Congress veteran Ashik Chavan and Vijay Wadettiwar could not cast their votes. Except for the speaker who was presiding over the proceedings, 20 lawmakers were absent including 12 from the Congress, five from the NCP (two former ministers, Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, are in jail on graft charges), two from the BJP and one from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). Besides three legislators-two from the Samajwadi Party and one from AIMIM abstained from voting though they were present in the house.
Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs. TheShinde camp has 39 MLAs and Thackeray has 16 MLAs. The NCP has 53 MLAs, Congress has 44 and the BJP has 106 members in the assembly.
On Sunday night, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant had said that since 39 of their MLAs did not obey the party whip their disqualification had been sought from the new speaker. With the appointment of Gogawale as the chief whip, the Thackeray faction with 16 MLAs would be bound by the whip to be issued by Gogawale for the trust vote. Thackeray had expelled Shinde from the Sena on Saturday.
Later In his speech, Shinde said he almost became the chief minister when Shiv Sena had entered into an alliance with Congress and NCP but declined the post after objections were raised within the party. He alleged that warnings and threats were issued to his party when he decided to rebel against former chief minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. He also spoke about his two children who died years ago and that he was given encouragement by his mentor, Anand Dighe. “The happenings of today (events leading to the trust vote) didn’t happen in just one day. I have been suppressed for a long time,” he said.
Shinde also announced in the assembly that his government will reduce VAT on fuel soon.
Meanwhile the Uddhav Thackeray camp has moved the Supreme Court challenging the newly appointed speaker’s action of recognising the whip of the Shinde group as the whip of Shiv Sena party. Uddhav Thackeray said that this was the BJP's ploy to finish his party and challenged it to hold mid-term elections in the state.
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