The Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has rattled the rival Shiv Sena (UBT) headed by Uddhav Thackeray with a threat to crack the 'whip' for the ensuing Budget Session of Maharashtra Legislature, starting here next week.
The Shinde Shiv Sena's Chief Whip Bharat Gogawale and other MLAs contended that they would soon issue a 'whip' to all the 56 legislators ordering them to tow the party line failing which they could face disciplinary action.
After the party split in June 2022, the Shinde side had 40 MLAs while former CM Thackeray was left with 16 MLAs, including his son Aditya Thackeray, in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly.
However, Sena (UBT) President Thackeray appears unfazed by the warnings and legal experts have also ruled out any such possibility as the Election Commission of India has now recognised both groups as separate entities and hence their 'whips' would not be applicable to each other.
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Thackeray went a step further and issued a counter-scare that pursuant to the outcome of the 16 MLAs disqualification case pending in the Supreme Court, even the other 40 legislators supporting Shinde could be disqualified on similar grounds.
Indicating a stormy political weather in the coming days, the Shinde side on Monday formally occupied the Shiv Sena office in the Vidhan Bhavan complex, and is now planning to do the same with offices in other civic bodies.
Nevertheless, Shinde has ruled out that it would stake claim to the Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar and other assets controlled by the Thackeray group, though some of his party leaders have claimed that since the ECI has given them the name-symbol, everything else would follow.