Shinde Shocker Squeezes Thackeray into Tight Spot as Govt Numbers Drop Closer to Danger Mark in Assembly

The Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra is facing an unprecedented crisis with Shiv Sena leader and state minister Eknath Shinde said to be camping at a hotel in Surat with 11 party MLAs, the exact gap the BJP needs to bridge in the Assembly to oust the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi coalition from power.

Sources said more MLAs are tipped to join Shindewho is reportedly unhappy with the party leadership, at a five-star hotel in Surat, a day after the Sena-NCP-Congress alliance was shocked by the BJP in Maharashtra Legislative Council polls. Despite being short on numbers, the opposition BJP managed to get its ‘extra’ contestant elected as MLC, trouncing the Congress’ first preference candidate.

After the MLC election results, NCP had accused the BJP of indulging in horse-trading and “working secret pacts”, while former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the results have exposed unrest among ruling coalition MLAs.

The MLC election results have proved to be the second major setback for the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition after the Rajya Sabha polls. The BJP had, under similar circumstances, bagged three Rajya Sabha seats, while the ruling alliance secured three, with one each for Sena-NCP-Congress, while the Sena’s second candidate was defeated.

As Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress rush to firefight their latest crisis, takes a look at the current numbers in the Maharashtra Assembly and how the Uddhav Thackeray government is placed.

Before Rajya Sabha Elections: Before June 10, the Uddhav Thackeray government had the support of 170 MLAs in the 288-member Assembly.

After Rajya Sabha Elections: Cross-voting against the second Sena candidate in the RS polls meant the party’s support came down from 171 to 162 MLAs.

After MLC Elections: BJP managed to pull off the election of an additional candidate at the expense of the Congress in the Legislative Council elections. Cross-voting again hit the MVA coalition hard as it reduced the MLAs voting in its favour to 151.

Magic Mark: The total strength of the Assembly is 288 but with the death of Shiv Sena’s Ramesh Latke and jailed NCP MLAs Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Mailk barred from voting, the effective strength is down to 285. This makes 143 the majority mark.

Current Numbers: The Uddhav Thackeray government is eight clear of the majority mark, while the BJP, with implied support of 134 MLAs, needs nine more to touch the magic figure and topple the government.

If the BJP manages to enlist the support of the Eknath Shinde camp, whose numbers are speculated to go up, Maharashtra may enter another phase of political uncertainty it saw after the 2019 Assembly elections.

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