New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is indulging in horse-trading to topple the governments in non- BJP ruled states and said democracy is diminishing in the country in the name of Hindutva.
"Democracy is diminishing in the country in name of Hindutva. People are not understanding now but they will regret it later. These people (BJP) are doing horse-trading and bringing down the governments while law and order situation remains fragile and the economy weakens," Gehlot told ANI here.
"They have made a joke of everything. They were hatching a conspiracy and were targetting Maharashtra from the very beginning but now it has come to light. PM Modi and Amit Shah should not be arrogant and must run the country as per the Constitution," he added.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury alleged that the ruling BJP at the Centre wants to build an "Opposition-free India".
"BJP's goal is to capture entire India. If an Opposition party speaks against them, they do not tolerate it. They are walking the path of building an 'Opposition-free India'. First, they said 'Congress-mukt' Bharat, now they changed it to 'vipaksh-mukt' Bharat," Chowdhury told ANI.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party was held in the presence of All India Congress Committees (AICC) observer Kamal Nath amid the deepening political crisis in Maharashtra.
Amid the intensifying political crisis in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday hinted at the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly.
"The ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra is heading to the dissolution of Vidhan Sabha," said Raut in a Twitter post.
Back-to-back meetings of Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are taking place in Mumbai over the rapidly changing political developments in the state.
On the contrary, Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal ruled out midterm polls in the state."Midterm elections? There have been no talks yet. What can I say?," Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal said.
Shiv Sena women workers in Aurangabad break down and weep as they protest against rebel leader Eknath Shinde who has led to ongoing instability in the MVA govt in the stateThis came after 40 Maharashtra MLAs including 33 Shiv Sena and seven independent MLAs exhorted their support to rebel Shiv Sena leader and state Cabinet Minister Eknath Shinde by signing a letter, said sources.Sources further said the rebel legislators may write to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari seeking for floor test in the state Legislative Assembly.
The 40 MLAs led by Shinde arrived at a luxury hotel in Guwahati in BJP-ruled Assam on Wednesday. The revolt in the Shiv Sena has given rise to speculations that Shinde along with other MLAs might join the BJP in a bid to topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
The MLAs are now staying at Radisson Blu Hotel in the city. "A total of 40 MLAs are present here. We will carry Balasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva," said Shinde after arriving in Guwahati.The Shiv Sena MLAs were received by BJP MLA Sushanta Borgohain and BJP MP Pallab Lochan Das at Guwahati airport.
On the other hand, when Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar was asked about the crisis in MVA, he termed the turmoil "an internal matter of the Sena". Pawar also said he remains fully committed to the three-party government. He also ruled out any tie-up with the opposition BJP.
The developments came up after suspected cross-voting in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged five seats, in a major blow to the MVA alliance government. NCP and Shiv Sena won two each while Congress was able to clinch one seat out of the total 10 seats in Legislative Council that went to the polls on Monday.
After the MLC elections, Shinde along with some other Shiv Sena MLAs was staying at Le Meridien hotel in Surat. A Shiv Sena delegation comprising Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's close aides Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak had also met Shinde and other party legislators in Surat.
Alleging that efforts are being made to topple the MVA government, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Tuesday had confirmed that some Shiv Sena MLAs and Eknath Shinde were currently "not reachable". He said that Shiv Sena MLAs were in Surat and they were not being allowed to leave.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, however, said that his party would "definitely consider" a proposal if it comes from Sinde to form an alternative government.
Amid the drama, Shinde took a veiled dig at Shiv Sena for joining hands with Congress and NCP to form the government in the state and tweeted, "We are Balasaheb's staunch Shiv Sainiks ... Balasaheb has taught us Hindutva. We have never and will never cheat for power regarding Balasaheb's thoughts and Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb's teachings."Shinde has also dropped "Shiv Sena" from his Twitter bio. He has been instrumental in strengthening the organisation in the Thane region and was made the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 2014 after the Shiv Sena parted ways with the BJP. Shinde was appointed as a cabinet minister in the MVA government.
However, sources said Shinde has been feeling sidelined since the formation of the MVA government. His son Shrikant Shinde represents the Kalyan Lok Sabha seat.
Amid these developments, Shiv Sena leaders met Deputy Speaker of Maharashtra Assembly Narhari Zirwal and handed over him a letter requesting to remove Eknath Shinde from the Legislative party leader's post and replace him with Ajay Chaudhary as Shiv Sena Legislative party leader.
Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut has claimed the rebellion has been engineered by the BJP to topple the ruling MVA alliance a claim denied by the BJP.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil claimed that "technically" the state government is in "minority" as Eknath Shinde and other Shiv Sena MLAs have gone.
He said that the BJP was presently in a "wait and watch" mode and added that there has not been any proposal regarding government formation neither from the BJP nor from Shinde.
"BJP got support from independents and small political parties for Rajya Sabha and MLC elections. As per our information, Eknath Shinde and 35 MLAs have gone. This means technically state government is in minority but practically it will take some time for the government to be in minority," he said.
"It is too early to say anything, we are currently waiting and keeping an eye on the situation. So far, there has not been any proposal regarding government formation neither from the BJP nor from Eknath Shinde but anything can happen in politics at any time," the BJP leader added.
There are a total of 288 members in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. So the halfway mark is 145 to form the government. With 106 MLAs, BJP is the largest party in the House. Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs, NCP 53, Congress 44 and Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) has three MLAs in the assembly.
After the death of a Shiv Sena MLA, currently, 287 MLAs are there in the Assembly and 144 MLAs are now needed to form the government.
Before the rebellion, the Shivsena-led MVA government enjoyed the support of 169 MLAs, while the BJP-led Opposition camp had 113 MLAs besides, five other MLAs.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena used to be allies until 2019 when after contesting the Maharashtra Assembly elections together both parted ways over the issue of the chief ministerial's post. Following days of the political impasse and high-voltage drama, the Shiv Sena finally formed the government along with the Congress and the NCP, with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray heading the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance government. (ANI)