Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in his first reaction to Thursday’s Supreme Court verdict on the face-off with his successor Eknath Shinde stated that the latter should step down on “moral grounds” alleging he “murdered democracy” to assume power.
Noting that the apex court in its verdict stated that he would probably have been reinstated as chief minister had he not resigned from the post in 2022, Thackeray said he was not fighting for himself but for the people of Maharashtra.
At a joint press conference which was also attended by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Thackeray said. “People who left my party have no right to ask me questions. If this CM (Shinde) has any morality, he must resign as I did. They betrayed my party and the legacy of my father. I may have done wrong by resigning but I did it on moral grounds.”
“I would have become CM of Maharashtra again today if I would have not resigned by myself in 2022, but my struggle is for saving democracy, my state and my country and that is why I stepped down on moral grounds and now Shinde should do the same,” he added.
“If the current Maharashtra CM and deputy CM have any ethics, then they should resign,” Thackeray said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “It doesn’t suit Uddhav Thackeray to talk about morality. I want to ask him if had he forgotten his morals when he went with NCP and the Congress for the CM post. He had not resigned on moral grounds but due to fear after people who were with him left him.”
Fadnavis also termed the Supreme Court verdict as a victory for democracy and the democratic process and that “no one should doubt that the Maharashtra government is completely legal.”
A Constitution bench of the apex court today ruled that then Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari’s decision to call for a floor test in June 2022 was not in accordance with the law. The bench added that a Floor Test cannot be used as a medium to resolve inter-party disputes or intra-party disputes. The court was hearing a batch of petitions in connection with the political crisis in Maharashtra last year that led to a vertical split in the Shiv Sena. It led to the then chief minister Thackeray, who led the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the State to resign after 16 of his party’s MLAs, including Eknath Shinde, rebelled and broke away in June 2022. Later in July 2022 Shinde backed by the BJP become the chief minister.
The CJI bench today ruled that no communications relied on by the Governor indicated that the dissatisfied MLAs wanted to withdraw support to the government.
Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar along with deputy CM and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav met Uddhav Thackeray at ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai.
Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar has been meeting Opposition leaders to strengthen the bloc against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Kumar had caught the national imagination with his pitch for a “united opposition” which, he believes, can take on and defeat the BJP in next year’s Lok Sabha polls. The JD(U) supreme leader, who stunned the BJP last year when he snapped ties will visit Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar later in the day.
In his joint presser with Uddhav Thackeray today the Bihar chief minister speaking on a United Opposition candidate said, “This exercise is not done to advance their personal advance but for the good of the country and to give the people of India a good alternative to the present government.”
Kumar said that a decision on the candidate will be decided after the formation of the United front and not before that.
“Those who are at the Centre are not working for the country…All political parties in the country need to unite to work together,” the Bihar chief minister said.
This report is filed by ANI news service.