Maharashtra: SC Asks Shinde Camp To Redraft Its Submissions; Opposition Questions Delay In Cabinet Expansion
The Supreme Court asked the Shinde camp to redraft its submissions on the plea filed by Uddhav Thackeray.
Meanwhile, the Shinde-Fadnavis duo is also drawing flak over delayed cabinet expansion.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday (3 August) asked the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to redraft his submissions on petitions filed by the Uddhav Thackeray group on constitutional issues arising due to the recent political crisis in Maharashtra.
Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, hearing the plea, asked Eknath Shinde camp if there is no relevance of a political party.
Appearing for the Uddhav Thackeray faction, senior lawyer Kapil Sibal said the MLAs who have sided with the Shinde camp can save themselves from disqualification under the tenth schedule of the Constitution only by merging the splinter group with another party.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Shinde faction, said the anti-defection law is not a weapon for the leaders who have lost the numbers to lock their members.
Meanwhile, questions are being raised, by the opposition as well as those within the party, on the delay in cabinet expansion in the Maharashtra government led by CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadvanis.
Shinde was in Pune on Tuesday (2 August) where he said that new members will be added to the cabinet "soon." Similarly, Fadnavis said that cabinet expansion will be done "as early as possible." But none of them has set a definite timeline.
However, Outlook reported that the spokesperson of the Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction, Deepak Kesarkar said on Tuesday that "there is a possibility of Maharashtra cabinet expansion in next four days."
Delay in the cabinet expansion is not only stagnating work in various departments but has also delayed the monsoon session of the legislative assembly which usually takes place in July and was scheduled to start from 18 July.
However, Shinde has claimed that even as the cabinet expansion has not taken place, the government is working efficiently. He cited various examples of "people-oriented" decisions being taken like reducing fuel prices, granting approval for constructing a Metro car shed at Aarey Colony in Mumbai and proposed diversion of rainwater to drought-prone areas of Marathwada in central Maharashtra.
Whereas, TOI reported that pending work is piling up in the higher education department in absence of a minister. The appointment of vice-chancellors in a couple of universities, including Pune, is being delayed as a senior official from the government is required to finalise the names.
However, this is not the first time that a state government in India is being run without cabinet expansion for such a long time. K Chandrashekhar Rao expanded his cabinet after a gap of 66 days when he became CM of Telangana in 2019.
Similarly, BS Yediyurappa alone ran the BJP government in Karnataka for 25 days. But the Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole has accused Shinde and Fadnavis of being anti-constitutional.
He quoted Article 164 of the constitution, according to which ministers should be appointed by the governor on CM's advice but accused governor BS Koshiyari of not pressurising the government to complete the process.
Other opposition leaders like Ajit Pawar has also targeted the government and said that the administration is on a standstill as the cabinet has not been expanded which is aggravating the problems of farmers in flood-hit regions.
However, Shinde claimed that the farmers have been provided relief as the scheme providing an assistance of Rs 50,000 has been resumed and power traffic for lift irrigation and others has been reduced.
(with inputs from PTI)
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