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Maharashtra political crisis: Shinde camp cites pre-poll alliance with BJP, claims right on Shiv Sena

New Delhi: Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's camp on Wednesday apprised the Supreme Court about the Shiv Sena party's pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and reiterated their claim on the right of the party.
Senior Advocate NK Kaul, appearing for the Shinde faction told a five-judge constitution bench that their camp did not merge or split from the political party but they are a rival faction within the party and should be recognised as Shiv Sena because they "represent" the party. Five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha was dealing with the issue related to Maharashtra political crisis.
During the hearing, CJI DY Chandrachud sought to know the fact that as a matter of propriety, should the governor have invited Shinde to form the government.
Replying to CJI queries, Senior Advocate NK Kaul said that there is nothing wrong with it as there cannot be a headless government in the state and BJP has supported the camp, with whom they have a pre-poll alliance.
Advocate Kaul also questioned why did Uddhav Thackeray not face the floor test.
Senior Advocate Kaul also apprised the court that the faction did not have faith in Uddhav Thackeray and their camp did not merge or split from the political party but they are a rival faction within the party and they should be recognised as Shiv Sena because they represent the party.

He also said that the camp cannot be in alliance with Congress and NCP due to ideological differences.
Apprising the court about the Shiv Sena pre-poll alliance with the BJP, senior advocate Kaul also informed about the first meeting of their camp on June 21 last year whereby a meeting of 34 MLAs took place.
The lawyer also supported the governor's decision to ask for a floor test for Uddhav Thackeray. Various MLAs have written to the governor that the ministry doesn't enjoy the majority.
Senior Advocate Kaul said that it is ECI who decides on the splinter groups but they have never claimed a split and they are claiming a rival faction within the party which is now recognised as Shivsena.
During the hearing that went on for hours, the bench also observed various facts related to the issue.
CJI DY Chandrachud observed that it makes no difference as to whether the rival factions claim to be an erstwhile political parties or make a new political party.
The bench also noted that a split doesn't postulate that people who are part of the party leave the party. The tenth schedule will also operate even if they are all in the party and it makes no difference to the tenth schedule as to who remains in the minority, the bench remarked.
Senior Advocate Kaul said that as far as the tenth schedule is concerned, an attempt is made to say that this is only the legislature party and not the political party.
Kaul said that he never said that the two are different but the argument is that this decision has the authority of the political party.

Kaul insisted that ECI has to decide which is the rival section in the recognized political party and its decision shall be binding.
Kaul also highlighted that their camp always claimed that they are the same Shiv Sena party and never claimed that they are a new original political party.
Kual submitted that when the Uddhav camp sensed the dissent and knew that many leaders are not supporting him, they go to the speaker and filed a disqualification petition and hence a trust vote which should happen immediately does not happen.
But the court noted that Uddhav Camp are right to the extent that the request to swear in Shinde as the Chief Minister and the opportunity given to him to prove his majority, came into being only because the speaker could not disqualify Shinde.
The hearing remained inconclusive today and would be continued tomorrow as well.
A five-judge Constitution bench was hearing a batch of petitions filed by rival factions Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in relation to the Maharashtra political crisis.
The Supreme Court's Constitution bench has earlier said it will decide later on referring the cases related to the Maharashtra political crisis to a larger seven-judge bench for reconsideration of a 2016 Nabam Rebia judgment on powers of Assembly Speakers to deal with disqualification pleas. (ANI)

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