A long-drawn affair


As the political battle reached the Supreme Court, it issued notices to Maharashtra Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, Chief Whip Sunil Prabhu, leader of Legislature party Anil Chaudhary and the Central Government. Shinde greeted the order tweeting, "This is the victory of the Hindutva emperor Balasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva and the thoughts of Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb…!" While the Maharashtra crisis seems to be becoming a long-drawn affair, the rebels got a breather from the SC. In response to rebel leader Eknath Shinde's petition challenging the disqualification notices issued to 16 MLAs, including himself, the apex court extended the deadline given to them to file their responses to the notices till July 12. They were told to reply by 5.30 pm on Monday. The Supreme Court wanted to know why the rebels didn't move the Bombay High Court; their lawyer said that the situation is bad in the Maharashtra capital. Their residences and properties are under threat.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's faction is not doing much to do away with the climate of fear. His loyalist and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said at a rally of workers on Sunday, "When they step out of Assam, they won't be alive at heart. They know what can happen in the fire which has been lit here now. The dead bodies of all these 40 MLAs will come to Mumbai (from Guwahati), we will directly send them to the mortuary for post-mortem." This at a time when the country's highest court is seized of the matter! Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate has summoned Raut. The ED's intervention at this point of time will be seen by many as abuse of official machinery by the Centre. Unsurprisingly, Raut has called the summons a "conspiracy." He said, "I am not linked with any of the companies mentioned by the ED. Tomorrow, I will not be able to go to ED as there is a rally in Alibaug which I have to address. It's a legal battle. Arrest me if you have orders from the BJP to arrest me." The political drama played out is quite familiar. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to be getting ready for political intervention. BJP MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar was quoted as saying, "BJP core committee meeting concluded. After SC order, State's political situation was assessed & discussed. Eknath Shinde said that his faction is original Shiv Sena, this too was discussed. We discussed what role should we assume in future in current scenario." No proposal on Government formation was discussed, the BJP said. If two-thirds/3rd MLAs are with Shinde, then how can they be called rebels, the BJP said after the core committee meeting, adding that there is no need for a floor test.

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