Caught in a constitutional entanglement over his membership in the state legislature, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi for cooperation in resolving the crisis, sources said.
“He (Thackeray) called Prime Minister to talk about his nomination. He asked for help saying if it does not happen he would have to resign,” said a source. The source added that the Prime Minister said he would look into the matter and get more details.
Although the Maharashtra cabinet had recommended Thackeray’s name to be nominated to the Legislative Council, the upper House in Maharashtra, from the Governor’s nomination quota, Governor B S Koshyari has not approved it. BJP leaders have pointed out that the approval had legal barriers, as it would be violating the provisions in The Representation of the People Act, 1951.
A party leader familiar with the development added that Thackeray wanted the BJP’s cooperation for resolving the issue.
“Knowing that it would be the Prime Minister who would be taking the final call on party’s decision, he approached him directly. He wanted BJP’s Maharashtra leaders who are not willing to cooperate with the Shiv Sena, for what it has done to the party, to be directed by Modiji,” the leader said.
Thackeray who took oath on November 28 last year, will have to get elected to either of the Houses in the state legislature before May 24. While the Election Commission has already postponed Rajya Sabha polls, byelections and civic body elections in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a legal issue for him to get nominated to the Legislative Council on the two vacancies it has. This is because, according to the Representation of the People Act, 1951, election or nomination to the post cannot be done if “the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than one year”. The terms of the two vacancies in the Maharashtra Council end on June 6.
While the Sena, the BJP’s estranged ally, tried to make it a political issue by accusing Koshyari of not approving the cabinet’s recommendation to nominate Thackeray as MLC from the Governor’s quota, the BJP’s local leadership is no mood to cooperate with the ruling coalition.
“Not only did the Shiv Sena and its leadership betray the BJP, it has been hostile to the party leaders since it came into power. Even during the COVID crisis, the government has not cooperated either with the local unit or with the Centre. They even refused to distribute the foodgrains the Centre has provided,” said the leader.
“Why should BJP help Uddhav Thackeray? His party had earlier been asking us when would our MLA become the Chief Minister, now they want us to tell them when will their CM become an MLA?” asked a leader from the state.