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Shiv Sena eyes post of Leader of Opposition in Maha Legislative Council

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena formally claimed the Leader of Opposition post in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, said sources on Monday.

"Two days ago, a meeting of all the Legislative Council members of Shiv Sena was held under the leadership of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. We had unanimously decided that Uddhav Thackeray has all the rights to appoint the party's chief whip. Today we had come to meet the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Council Neelam Tai Gorhe in the same regard," Shiv Sena's Legislative Council member Manisha Kayande said.

"We have handed them two letters. A letter was about giving all the rights in relation to the appointment of Uddhav Thackeray as the Chief Whip. And the second letter was in reference to the demand of the Deputy Speaker to be appointed by the Shiv Sena, the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council. Since Shiv Sena has the maximum number of MLs in the Upper House Legislative Council, naturally the post of Leader of Opposition belongs to Shiv Sena," he said.

"Shiv Sena will formally claim for the Leader of Opposition post in Upper house of Maharashtra legislature, Legislative council. A delegation of Shivsena MLCs will meet the Deputy Chairman of the Council and submit their letter regarding the same today," said sources.

The reason cited behind the move was that former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has still not resigned from the membership of the council yet.

"As Uddhav Thackeray has still not resigned from the membership of the council yet. Shiv Sena has 1 member more than NCP. NCP's Ajit Pawar is already LoP in the Maharashtra Assembly so Shiv Sena is expecting that NCP will not claim the post of LoP in the council," the sources added.

Earlier, all MLAs are expected to respond within a week's time after the show cause notice. 39 MLAs belonging to the faction of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 14 to the Uddhav Thackeray group.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on July 4 won the floor test in the State Assembly on the last day of the two-day special session of the House. In the 288-member House, 164 MLAs voted for the motion of confidence, while 99 voted against it.

Three legislators abstained from voting, while Congress's Ashok Chavan and Vijay Wadettiwar were among those absent during the trust vote. Speaker Rahul Narvekar announced that the trust vote was carried by a majority vote.

After the death of a Shiv Sena MLA recently, the current strength of the Assembly is reduced to 287, thus the majority mark is 144.

Both sides have accused each other of defying the party whip during the Speaker's election and the trust vote on July 3 and 4, respectively, seeking disqualification of the legislators from both sides.

A day before the floor test, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar had recognised Gogawale as the Shiv Sena's chief whip, removing Sunil Prabhu, who belongs to the Thackeray faction.

On July 3, Rahul Narvekar of the BJP was elected Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly. He had polled 164 votes, and he defeated Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena candidate Rajan Salvi, who got 107 votes.

After the Maharashtra government won the trust vote in the state Assembly, Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde faction on Monday gave a petition to Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar for the suspension of 16 MLAs of the party belonging to Uddhav Thackeray's camp for violation of whip.

Bharat Gogawale, Chief whip of Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde faction gave the petition to the Assembly Speaker.
The Speaker's office confirmed that 16 MLAs will be issued notice for suspension. Gogawale had also issued a whip to the party MLAs to remain present in the Vidhan Sabha for the floor test.

Shiv Sena chief whip Bharat Gogawale said, "We have given the notice to disqualify all the persons who defied our whip except Aaditya Thackeray. We have not given the name of Aaditya Thackeray due to respect towards Balasaheb Thackeray." (ANI)

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