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Unique Constitutional Stalemate In Maharashtra, Solution Elusive

A piquant situation has arisen in Maharashtra, the first such in parliamentary history of India, as the chief minister and the leader of the opposition in the state legislative council claim to belong to the same party. Nobody has a ready solution. Chief minister Eknath Shinde and his 50-odd supporters have continuously maintained that they have not left the Shiv Sena; in fact, we are the real representatives of the original Sena, they claim. On the other hand, former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s legislative wing had submitted to deputy council chairperson Neelam Gorhe that it was nominating Ambadas Danve as leader of the opposition in the upper house. Incidentally, Gorhe, too, is with Uddhav. Her decision to appoint Danve had generated intense speculation about its constitutional validity. This was viewed in the context of change of guard in the state. The situation became more intriguing as Uddhav had forwarded Danve’s name to Gorhe without consulting either the Congress or the Nationalist Congress party although they were partners of the earlier ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi. Both immediately expressed disapproval of this unilateral action by Uddhav.  As the power play is now before the Supreme Court through various petitions, it will be tricky for the authorities to take any decision either way. Hence, wait-and-watch seems the safe policy.