Ahead of SC hearing, Shinde to make 5th trip to Delhi
Amid the uncertainty in the wake of the scheduled hearing in the Supreme Court over a clutch of petitions filed over the formation of the Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the CM is expected to talk about the cabinet expansion
Mumbai Amid the delayed expansion of his cabinet and ahead of the Supreme Court hearing of petitions on political crisis in Maharashtra, chief minister Eknath Shinde is expected to make his fifth trip to New Delhi on Thursday to meet Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) central leadership.
Amid the uncertainty in the wake of the scheduled hearing in the Supreme Court over a clutch of petitions filed over the formation of the Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the CM is expected to talk about the cabinet expansion. The delay is believed to be because of the legal issues ahead of the SC hearing on August 1.
Since he took over as chief minister on June 30, Shinde has been frequently visiting Delhi to consult BJP top leaders over various issues related to formation of the government as well as his complex legal battle over engineering a split in Shiv Sena. In almost a month, Shinde has made five trips to Delhi including one for the swearing-in of new president Droupadi Murmu on July 24, giving an opportunity to leaders of Shiv Sena as well as Congress-NCP to taunt him over his “new bosses in Delhi.”
While Shinde camp is not happy with the jibes, they see the consultations in Delhi are unavoidable for Shinde whose government is largely at the mercy of the BJP which has 115 MLAs as against his 50.
Though the Shinde camp and the state BJP leaders have been claiming that the delay in expansion has nothing to do with the scheduled hearing, senior leaders from both sides are wary of the apex court’s stand. In the backdrop of this, the meetings between deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and governor BS Koshyari, the urgent meeting called by the BJP leadership in Delhi assume significance. The BJP’s central leadership is expected to discuss the issues with Shinde and Fadnavis on Thursday.
“Many contentious issues involved in the petitions will prove decisive to the existence of the government. Right from the disqualification of dissident MLAs including Shinde, the appointment of whip and validity of whip, role played by the governor during the formation of the government, and whether the Shinde camp’s revolt was a split within Sena will be debated upon at great length in the apex court. The adverse ruling by the court in any of the issues may nail the government. In such a scenario, it would be of greater embarrassment if the entire cabinet is forced to resign. The picture of the fate of the government is expected to be clear during August 1 hearing,” said a BJP leader requesting anonymity.
The leader said that BJP’s central leadership was taking all the aspects into consideration before taking any further steps. He said that the legal issues are expected to be discussed with the CM, DyCM and the governor in Delhi on Thursday.
Another party leader added that besides the uncertainty, other issues related to the sharing of power have been resolved between Shinde camp and the BJP. “There is no dispute over the allocation of portfolios. The Shinde camp will get 16 berths, including that of the CM, while we will get 27 departments. Fadnavis is keen on keeping home and finance, while Sudhir Mungantiwar may get revenue and Chandrakant Patil is expected to be made public works department minister. However, the final list will be released by the BJP’s central leadership,” he said.
“It is not proper to term the government constitutional as having at least 12 ministers is not mandatory. The expansion is expected to be done soon and the official announcement will soon be done by CM and DyCM. The CM and DyCM have been handling the situation including that of the downpour and losses to farmers very efficiently. Still, we agree that the expansion should be done at the earliest, and it will be done soon,” said Deepak Kesarkar, spokesperson of the Shinde camp.
Constitutional expert Aseem Sarode said, “The SC ruling, in this case, is expected to be a landmark verdict. Many factors are against the Shinde-Fadnavis government, including the merger of the Shinde camp in any other party which is mandatory but has not happened. Secondly, though the Shinde camp has been claiming they are the party and they have not quit the party, does not stand legally. The chain of the actions by Shinde camp proves otherwise. Also, the appointment of speaker and his decisions over the disqualification would be in question if the SC refers to the precedents. In such a scenario, the Shinde-Fadnavis are treading very cautiously and delaying the expansion.”