Shinde's Security

Shinde’s Security Beefed Up Amid Death Threat

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s security has been beefed up following inputs about a threat to his life.

“I don’t pay attention to it.” Our home department and home minister, Devendra Fadanavis, are capable and we trust them. I won’t be scared of such threats. Nobody can stop me from working for the public. I will continue to work for them, “said Shinde.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday instructed police officials to tighten up Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s security in the wake of repeated threats to the latter, said sources.

Fadnavis also asked the Director General of Police (DGP), Mumbai Commissioners of Police (CP), and Intelligence Commissioner to put a high-level team to find out the culprit.

“Maharashtra Deputy CM gave instructions to tighten up CM Eknath Shinde’s security and asked DGP, CP Mumbai, and commissioner intelligence to put a high-level team to find out the culprit in the wake of repeated threats to the CM,” informed Maharashtra Home Department sources. (ANI)

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Uddhav Dig at shinde

SC Allows EC To Decide Which Faction Is The Real Shiv Sena

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to decide on rival claims made by groups led by Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on which faction is the real Shiv Sena.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud declined to stay proceedings before the Election Commission on the Shinde group’s claim for recognition as the ‘real’ Shiv Sena.
The bench also comprising Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha rejected the plea of the Uddhav Thackeray group seeking a stay on proceedings before the EC till the Supreme Court decides on the main issue pending before it.

“We direct that there would be no stay of the proceedings before the Election Commission of India. Accordingly, the Interlocutory Application is dismissed,” the bench stated in its order after a day-long hearing.

The ECI will now also look at the issue of allotment of Shiv Sena’s traditional bow and arrow symbol of the party.

Earlier, the apex court had verbally asked the poll panel to not take any precipitative action on the issue.

Thackeray group had filed an application before the top court seeking direction to restrain the Election Commission from deciding the claim raised by the Shinde faction for recognition as the official Shiv Sena party.

During the hearing, Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Thackeray group, argued that Shinde has incurred disqualification as his various acts amount to voluntary giving up of the party membership under Paragraph 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule and also he has violated the party whip.

He said that allowing the Election Commission to decide Shinde’s claim can result in “irreparable damage” to the Thackeray group.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi also appearing for the Thackeray camp contended that “In whatever form the Shiv Sena exists today, they have no claim that they have merged with the BJP. You (Shinde group) have left the Shiv Sena, but you want the goodwill of Shiv Sena and so you won’t merge.”

Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the Shinde group, claimed that over 1.5 lakh party members had sent their representations to the Election Commission supporting the Shinde group.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra Governor, told the bench that the Election Commission should be allowed to discharge its duties.

He said, “This is a political question and it is not the first time that such a split has happened and to decide which faction is the real party. It is the election commission which is equipped to look into this.”

The top court is seized of several petitions filed by rival groups of Shiv Sena in relation to the Maharashtra political crisis.

In August, the top court’s three-judge bench had referred to a five-judge Constitution bench the issues involved in the petition filed by rival groups of Shiv Sena in relation to the Maharashtra political crisis.

Earlier, the Supreme Court three-judge bench had said that some of the issues involved in the Maharashtra political crisis may require a larger Constitutional bench for consideration.

It had also asked the Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Rahul Narwekar not to take any action on the new disqualification notices issued against the members of Shiv Sena. There are various petitions pending before the apex court filed by both the factions of Shiv Sena.

Thackeray-led faction had approached the top court challenging the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari’s decision to invite Eknath Shinde to form the government and also the Speaker’s election and floor test. Later they had challenged the Shinde group approaching poll panel claiming they are ‘real’ Shiv Sena.

They had also challenged the newly appointed Maharashtra Assembly Speaker’s action recognising the whip of the Eknath Shinde group as the whip of Shiv Sena. The plea said the newly appointed Speaker has no jurisdiction to recognise whips nominated by Shinde as Uddhav Thackeray is still the head of the Shiv Sena official party.

Thackeray camp’s Sunil Prabhu had filed a plea seeking suspension from the Maharashtra Assembly of new Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and 15 rebel MLAs against whom disqualification pleas are pending.

Shinde groups challenged the disqualification notices issued by the Deputy Speaker to 16 rebel MLAs as well as the appointment of Ajay Choudhary as Shiv Sena Legislature Party leader, is also pending before the apex court.

On June 29, the top court gave a go-ahead to the floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on June 30. Refusing to stay the Maharashtra Governor’s direction to the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority support on the floor of the House on June 30, the bench had issued notice on Prabhu’s plea against floor test.

After the apex court’s order, Uddhav Thackeray announced his resignation as the Chief Minister and Eknath Shinde was later sworn in as the Chief Minister.

On June 27, the top court granted interim relief to Shinde and other rebel MLAs to file their reply to disqualification notices issued to them by Deputy Speaker by July 12, 5.30 pm. Earlier, Deputy Speaker had granted them time to file a reply by June 27, 5.30 pm. (ANI)

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Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park

Bombay HC: Uddhav-Led Sena To Hold Dussehra Rally At Shivaji Park

After allowing the amendment in the petition, the Bombay High Court on Friday ruled in favor of the Shiv Sena and allowed the Uddhav Thackeray faction to hold the Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park.

The tussle between the Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led faction and former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led faction was in full pace for weeks and the decision came only after thorough brawls came to the fore.
Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab confirmed the development and said that the permission was given for a duration of five days starting October 2.

“Today High Court decided that Shiv Sena’s Dussehra rally will be held at Shivaji Park. It’s been happening since 1966. We presented Shiv Sena’s history before the court. The HC rejected law and order situation raised by BMC. Shiv Sena has permission to hold a rally from October 2 to 6,” said Parab.

He also stressed about the ongoing turbulence around the “real Shiv Sena” and highlighted the court’s take on it.

“Sada Sarvankar filed an intervention petition before HC seeking objection on which faction is the real Shiv Sena. HC said it’s not their right (to decide) but the Supreme Court and Election Commission of India’s right,” he added.

He also listed the Sena’s stance to approach the apex court and said, “We’ll see in Supreme Court, will fight there too.”

The BMC had refused to give permission to the two factions for holding the rally, based on the local police’s report which said that the event may cause law and order problems in the area.

Shiv Sena has been holding the rally on Dussehra every year since 1966. The event is significant this year as Sena is now split up into two factions and the rally was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Uddhav Thackeray, in August, took a dig at Shinde, stating the party is not sure whether it will get permission for the event. Thackeray went on to say that whatever happens, he will hold a Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park

“Shiv Sena’s Dussehra rally will be held at Shivaji Park in Mumbai. Shiv Sainiks from all over the state will reach for this rally. We do not know these technical things whether the government will give permission or not. We will hold the rally. It doesn’t matter to us whether others will hold rallies or not. Shiv Sena has grown not by traitors but by the blood of Shiv Sainiks,” Thackeray had said addressing workers of his party.

Thackeray had said that a lot is happening in Maharashtra about which he will speak at the Dussehra rally.

Dussehra will be celebrated on October 5 this year. (ANI)

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Will JP Nadda Come Out Of Shah’s Shadow?

The humiliating defeat suffered by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Delhi assembly election has not proved to be an auspicious beginning for the party’s month-old president JP Nadda. Though it is true that it was Union Home Minister Amit Shah who led the party’s high-decibel campaign in Delhi, history books will record the result as BJP’s first electoral drubbing under Nadda’s stewardship.

Out of power for over two decades, the BJP was predictably desperate to take control in Delhi. But the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party proved to be a formidable opponent and the BJP fell by the wayside once again.

Well before Nadda took over as the BJP’s 11th president, it was widely acknowledged that he will not enjoy the same powers as his predecessor Amit Shah did but, nevertheless, would be called to take responsibility for the party’s poll defeats as well as organisational matters.

Nadda began his tenure with a disadvantage as it is difficult to live up to Shah’s larger-than-life image. Amit Shah, who served as BJP president for five years has easily been the most powerful party head in recent times. Known for his supreme organisational skills, Shah is chiefly responsible for the BJP’s nation-wide expansion, having built a vast network of party workers and put in place formidable election machinery. No doubt Modi’s personality, charisma and famed oratory drew in the crowds but there is no denying that Shah contributed equally to the string of electoral victories notched by the BJP over the last five years.

ALSO READ: Shah Could Be Most Decisive HM

Given that Shah has revamped the party organisation from scratch and placed his loyalists in key positions, there are serious doubts that the affable, low-key and smiling Nadda will be allowed functional autonomy. Will he be able to take independent decisions, will he constantly be looking over his shoulder, will he be allowed to appoint his own team or will he be a lame-duck party president? These are the questions doing the rounds in the BJP as there is all-round agreement that Shah will not relinquish his grip over the party organisation. This was evident in the run-up to the Delhi assembly polls as it was Shah and not Nadda who planned and led the party’s election campaign.

In fact, it is acknowledged that Nadda was chosen to head the BJP precisely because he is willing to play the second fiddle to Shah. Party leaders maintain that the new president is unlikely to make any major changes in the near future and that he will be consulting Shah before taking key decisions. For the moment, state party chiefs appointed by Shah have been re-elected, ensuring that the outgoing party president remains omnipresent.

ALSO READ: Anti-CAA Protests Erupt In Country

Though Nadda has inherited a far stronger party organisation as compared to his earlier predecessors, the new BJP president also faces a fair share of challenges. He has taken over as party chief at a time when the BJP scraped through in the Haryana assembly polls, failed to form a government in Maharashtra and was roundly defeated in Jharkhand. The party’s relations with its allies have come under strain while the ongoing protests against the new citizenship law, the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register have blotted the BJP’s copybook.

These developments have predictably came as a rude shock to the BJP leadership and its cadres who were convinced that the party was invincible, especially after it came to power for a second consecutive term last May with a massive mandate.

WATCH: Modi Has Woken Up A Sleeping Tiger

Nadda’s first task has been to boost the morale of party workers and make them believe that the recent assembly poll results were a flash in the pan and that the BJP’s expansion plans are on course.

After Delhi, the Bihar election poses the next big challenge this year. The party’s ally, the Janata Dal (U), has upped the ante, meant primarily to mount pressure on the BJP for a larger share of seats in this year’s assembly elections. Realising that the BJP cannot afford to alienate its allies at this juncture, Amit Shah has already declared Nitish Kumar as the coalition’s chief ministerial candidate, which effectively puts the Janata Dal (U) in the driver’s seat. This has upset the BJP’s Bihar unit which has been pressing for a senior role in the state and is even demanding that the next chief minister should be from their party.          

The BJP has to necessarily treat its allies with kid gloves as they have been complaining  about the saffron party’s “big brother” attitude and that they are being taken for granted. While Shiv Sena has already parted company with the BJP, other alliance partners like the Lok Janshakti Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal have also questioned the BJP’s style of functioning.

The crucial West Bengal assembly election next year will also be held during Nadda’s tenure. The BJP has been working methodically on the ground in this state for the past several years now and has staked its prestige on dethroning Mamata Banerjee.

ALSO READ: West Bengal Follows AAP Model

But the Trinamool Congress chief is putting up a spirited fight, sending out a clear message to the BJP that it will not be so easy to oust her. Banerjee has declared war against the Modi government on the issues pertaining to the CAA-NRC-NPR and also activated her party cadres who have spread across the state to explain the implications of the Centre’s decision to the poor and illiterate. The BJP, on the other hand, is struggling to get across its message.

As in the case of Delhi, Shah can be expected to take charge of the Bihar and West Bengal assembly polls while Nadda will, at best, be a marginal player. Again it will be left to Shah to mollify the party’s allies as it is too sensitive and important a task to be handled by Nadda.

Like all political parties led by strong leaders, a BJP defeat will be seen as Nadda’s failure while a victory will be credited to Modi and Shah.

BJP Needs Allies More Than Ever Before

By Sanjoy Narayan For quite a while after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) impressively won India’s 2014 parliamentary elections in what is universally acknowledged as a wave that was powered by Mr. Narendra Modi’s aggressive campaigning, it seemed unstoppable. Mr. Modi and his electioneering vow of attaining a “Congress-mukt Bharat” where the BJP would rid the Congress of power in every state also appeared to be within grasp. On the face of it, it can still seem so. Of the 29 Indian states, his party, on its own or with the help of allies, rules in 22. The Congress, on the other hand, rules in three, and recently in Karnataka it formed the government as a junior partner of a regional party, the Janata Dal Secular (JDS). But these numbers hide a telling trend. That trend began with the state elections in Gujarat late last year. The BJP won those elections and retained power but with much less decisiveness than before: in the 182-seat Gujarat assembly, it got 16 seats less than it had in 2012, while rival Congress got 18 more than its previous tally. Since then it has suffered a series of setbacks in by-elections held in several states for parliamentary as well as assembly seats. In UP, it lost two prestigious Lok Sabha seats that were vacated by BJP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy; likewise it lost two assembly seats in Rajasthan; and in the most recent by polls held in May for four Lok Sabha and 10 assembly seats, it managed to win just two seats (one Lok Sabha and one assembly). The Modi wave, which had once seemed invincible, is losing steam. Last month, a survey by media group ABP and the Centre for the Study of Development Societies (CSDS) of 15,859 respondents showed 47% felt that the Modi government did not deserve a second inning in the 2019 parliamentary elections and only 39% felt that it did. The survey threw up other findings too: a.) Minority communities (Muslims, Sikhs and Christians) are pronounced in their opposition to the Modi government and that even the Hindu majority is split in half between support and opposition; and b.) The BJP’s popularity is down by several percentage points. Prior to the assembly elections in Gujarat most political analysts went by a conventional logic that ran as follows. To win elections, the Congress, whose footprint across Indian has drastically shrunk needs to forge, nurture and depend on alliances with other parties, notably the regional ones that hold sway in states. In Gujarat, it was able to gain seats because it allied with a combination of regional parties and activists; in Bihar when Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU) were allies, it agreed to be a junior partner with the two (that is history now, though, after the JDU broke away and allied with the BJP). And the last two times that it came to power at the Centre was because at least a dozen parties came together to join its coalition, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Without those parties, the Congress could never have formed a government. For the BJP, thus far it has been a different story. Although its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is a combine of 47 parties, BJP alone has 277 of the 334 seats that the NDA has of Lok Sabha’s 543 making it pretty much the all-powerful boss of the alliance, a clout that the Congress never had (on its own it had 145 seats in 2004; and 206 in 2009). Moreover, its currently configured DNA, BJP is inept in handling powerful allies. In Punjab, where it has partnered with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and in Maharashtra where it runs the government with the Shiv Sena, fissures and frictions between the BJP and its allies have been chronic. So conventional logic suggested that, at least in the big states, the BJP probably fares better when it goes alone or tactically allies with only minor players. Well, that logic may not hold good any longer. In the recent elections in Karnataka, the BJP on its own impressively won the largest number of seats but even that didn’t assure it power because it could forge no allies to speak of. Karnataka, along with four other southern states (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala) will be crucial for the BJP as it goes in for the next parliamentary elections. Those five states account for 130 Lok Sabha seats (for comparison’s sake: UP accounts for 80, Maharashtra 48, Bengal 42, and Bihar 40).  Although it has “friendly” parties such as AIADMK and PMK in Tamil Nadu and YSR Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, none of them is technically an ally in the south for the BJP. In fact, it recently lost a southern ally when Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) left the NDA. If the ABP-CSDS survey is directionally accurate and the outcome of several by polls considered, the BJP will need alliances if it wants to get the winning numbers. It needs them in the south but also elsewhere. In the east it has three big allies—the JDU and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), led by Ram Vilas Paswan, in Bihar; and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in Assam. But in Bengal and Odisha where it has intention of spreading its footprint, it has no regional ally. The two powerful parties that rule there—Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) have an advantage in elections if the opposition vote is fragmented among many rather than consolidated towards an alliance. Even the alliances the BJP has are not without their woes. In Bihar, the BJP wrested back power riding on the shoulders of the JDU after chief minister Nitish Kumar ditched the RJD but tension and resentment simmers within the new alliance. Further, the RJD, still smarting from being ousted from the government is believed to be trying to woo away local BJP/JDU allies such as Paswan’s LJP and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) led by Upendra Kushwaha. In UP where two regional parties and once bitter foes, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (led by Mayawati), joined together against the BJP and foiled its attempts to win several by poll seats, tallying up Lok Sabha seats will be a challenge for the BJP. Even in those state polls where there have traditionally been straight fights between the BJP and Congress, there could be new challenges. As in Madhya Pradesh where although the BJP has been in power for three terms, the Congress is forging an alliance with the BSP and, therefore, could pose a heftier challenge. Madhya Pradesh goes to the polls later this year, as does Rajasthan. In both the incumbent BJP governments could face a siege. But more importantly, with less than a year left of his term, Mr. Modi and his party’s president and chief election strategist, Mr. Amit Shah, are eyeing the next parliamentary elections. The string of outcomes in some state elections and many by-elections haven’t been as desired. No surprises then that Mr. Shah has been meeting leaders of his party’s allies across India, particularly the more difficult ones such as the Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal. Next on the cards could be peace offerings that could come in the shape of more cabinet posts for representatives of non-BJP NDA constituents. All eyes are on Delhi. Sanjoy Narayan tweets @sanjoynarayan]]>