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Supreme Court’s Ultimatum Puts Maharashtra’s Political Landscape on Edge: Shiv Sena MLA Disqualification Looms

MUMBAI | September 21, 2023: The Supreme Court’s stern stance on the delay in deciding the fate of 16 Shiv Sena MLAs, including Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, puts the Shinde-Fadnavis government on shaky ground. BJP strategizes for potential political upheaval, contemplating Ajit Pawar, Devendra Fadnavis, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, and Nitin Gadkari for the Chief Minister’s role. If disqualification occurs, it may trigger a significant political shift in Maharashtra.

In a recent development, the Supreme Court has publicly criticized the Assembly Speaker, Rahul Narvekar, for the prolonged proceedings concerning the potential disqualification of 16 Shiv Sena MLAs, including Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. The Court’s intervention comes after concerns were raised about the delay in reaching a decision, which has prompted growing unease within the political landscape of Maharashtra.

The Supreme Court has taken a decisive step by directing the Assembly Speaker to submit a report within the next week, indicating a sense of urgency regarding this matter. This development has effectively thwarted the efforts of the BJP and the Shinde faction to prolong the decision-making process on the disqualification of these MLAs.

Observers suggest that it is becoming increasingly inevitable for Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar to make a verdict regarding the disqualification of these MLAs in the coming days. The potential disqualification, if it occurs under the Inter-Party Ban Act and the Tenth Schedule, could deal a significant blow to the Shinde-Fadnavis government.

Within political circles, discussions are underway regarding a strategy within the BJP to manage any potential political instability that may arise in the wake of such a disqualification. Sources indicate that should Eknath Shinde face disqualification, the current Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar, is the frontrunner for the BJP’s next Chief Ministerial candidate. Other names being floated for the Chief Minister’s role within the BJP include Devendra Fadnavis, Revenue Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.

The potential disqualification of 16 Shiv Sena MLAs could lead to a significant reshuffling of the political deck in Maharashtra. As a result, it is highly likely that important political events will unfold in the state in the coming week.

Furthermore, the manner in which the BJP chooses to handle Eknath Shinde’s potential departure from the Chief Minister’s post will be closely watched. This situation has reignited discussions about Ajit Pawar’s candidacy for the Chief Minister’s position, a topic that has been circulating since he broke away with a group of NCP MLAs and took the oath as Deputy Chief Minister.

During this period of uncertainty, Ajit Pawar’s group of MLAs had openly discussed the possibility of him becoming the Chief Minister in the future, causing discontent among Eknath Shinde and his supporters. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had previously reassured Shinde that he would be the future Chief Minister, stating that no one else would be considered for the role. However, in light of the potential disqualification action against Shinde, it remains to be seen how Fadnavis will navigate this complex political landscape.

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