Maharashtra Governor Ramesh Bais with State Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and State Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar | File photo: ANI
Mumbai: Maharashtra Legislative Assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar on Monday said that after the Supreme Court's May 11 verdict, he will have to first recognise in the House which faction of the Shiv Sena is the political party before going ahead with any other decision.
Earlier, Sunil Prabhu, chief whip of Shiv Sena when it was led by Uddhav Thackeray, urged Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal to take action as per the SC judgment.
“I will have to first recognise who represents the political party in the Assembly. Then the decision on the appointment of the chief whip will be taken. The petitions demanding the disqualification of MLAs are pending with the Speaker. Their main contention is about not following the whip's order,” Narwekar told reporters here after returning from London.
In its verdict on the Shiv Sena-centric tussle that led to the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra last year, the Supreme Court on May 11 said it can't reinstate the then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray as he chose to resign without facing the floor test.
Refusing to disqualify the 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, including Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the top court said it cannot ordinarily adjudicate disqualification petitions under the anti-defection law and directed Speaker Narwekar to take a decision on the pending matter within a “reasonable period”.
“Here we have to take a decision with retrospective effect. For that, I need to conduct hearings with both sides and their representations,” said Narwekar.
While these two Sena groups, one led by Shinde and the other by Thackeray, have contested elections as different entities, they are not separately recognised in the Assembly.
When asked about Supreme Court terming Bharat Gogawale's appointment as Sena's chief whip by Shinde illegal, Narvekar said, “It is not permanently illegal. After following due procedure, Gogawale can still become the chief whip of the party.”
During last year's Maharashtra political crisis, Thackerey controlled the Shiv Sena party organisation, while the Shinde faction claimed the support of the majority of elected legislators.
Earlier in the day, Sunil Prabhu, who was the chief whip of the Sena when it was led by Uddhav Thackeray, submitted a memorandum to Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal seeking that action should be taken against the rebels following the Supreme Court verdict.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Zirwal, Prabhu said, “We submitted a copy of the Supreme Court's decision to Zirwal and requested him to take action at the earliest. The copy of the judgment was given for their reference.”