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What this means for the Uddhav Thackeray faction

Twelve Shiv Sena MPs joined the faction led by Eknath Shinde and the Lok Sabha speaker recognized rebel MP Rahul Shewale as leader of the lower house. Is Uddhav Thackeray losing full control of the party?

In another victory for the legend of Eknath Shinde, Rahul Shewale has been recognized as the Floor Chief of Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha. PTI

In the Shiv Sena vs. Shiv Sena battle, which has now reached Parliament, the Eknath Shinde faction has won a victory. Lok Sabha chairman Om Birla on Tuesday recognized Rahul Shewale of the dissident camp as the leader of the party in the lower house.

A circular from the Lok Sabha Secretariat outlined the party’s positions in the House “following the change of party leader Shiv Sena to Lok Sabha”. He mentioned that Shewale will be the leader of the 19-member party, according to a report published in The Indian Express.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Shinde said the Lok Sabha Speaker had recognized Shewale as the leader of the Shiv Sena in the Lower House of Parliament and Bhavna Gawli as the Chief Whip.

“While Rahul Shewale is the new leader of the Shiv Sena group, Bhavna Gawli is the chief party whip in Lok Sabha,” Shinde said.

Who is Rahul Shewale?

Shewale is a two-time Member of Parliament (MP) from Mumbai South Central Constituency. The 49-year-old Dalit leader has been part of the Shiv Sena for over two decades now.

In the early 2000s, he was a Sena pramukh. He first became a corporator of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in 2002 and won again in 2007 and 2012. He contested the Assembly elections in Trombay constituency in 2004 but lost to a congressional candidate.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he was elected as an MP, winning as a joint Sena-BJP candidate after beating fellow Dalit leader and two-time Congress MP Eknath Gaikwad.

Shewale’s wife, Kamini, is also a member of the Shiv Sena and a former corporal.

Before switching sides to the Shinde faction, Shewale was among the first leaders to urge Uddhav Thackeray to support National Democratic Alliance candidate Draupadi Murmu in the presidential elections.

However, Shewale finds himself embroiled in controversy. A 33-year-old Dubai-based woman has accused the MP of raping her under the guise of marriage. She also alleged mental exploitation.

How did the Shinde faction get the floor boss position?

The Shiv Sena spilled over into the Lok Sabha with 12 of its 19 MPs joining the Shinde side.

In a media interview, Maharashtra CM said the 12 lawmakers met with President Birla and submitted letters asking for recognition as a Shiv Sena party group in the Lok Sabha.

“Anyone who comes before the President with a majority of MPs seeking to change the party leader in the House will have to be accepted after verification of the credentials of the MPs who support him,” said an official from the LS secretariat. The Indian Express. The President’s office had verified that 12 of the party’s 19 deputies had requested a change of leadership in the Lower House.

Another win for Eknath Shinde's side as he secures the post of Lok Sabha leader What this means for the Uddhav Thackeray faction

The Supreme Court will hear several petitions from the Shinde and Thackeray factions today. Image Courtesy: Twitter

What future for the Shinde faction?

The decision came a day before a Supreme Court hearing on multiple motions regarding the brawl between the two Sena factions. The Thackeray group says the Shinde-led government is “unlawful” until the Supreme Court rules on their disqualification. The rebel camp claims that they are the real Sena since they have the support of the majority of the deputies and even now the deputies.

The Shinde faction approached the Election Commission to be recognized as Shiv Sena.

What does Shewale say?

At a press conference in Delhi, Shewale explosively claimed that Uddhav Thackeray wanted to join the NDA last year, adding that the party never officially left the alliance.

“We are still part of the NDA,” he said. “Even Uddhavji had agreed to form an alliance with the BJP. But after the suspension of 12 BJP MPs, this plan did not come to fruition. When we suggested an alliance with the BJP, Uddhavji said, “I tried So why don’t you try now?

However, Thackeray’s Sena denied the request.

What does the Uddhav faction do?

Before Shinde & Co approached Birla, the original leader of the Sena in the Lok Sabha Vinayak Raut had written to Birla, informing him of Gawli’s removal as Chief Whip and his replacement by Rajan Baburao Vichare , MP for Thane. He had asked the President not to receive any representation from the rival faction.

Birla also reportedly asked MPs on Thackeray’s side to bring the signatures of a majority to accept their request, but they failed.

Currently there are seven MPs with Thackeray but at least three are likely to join Shinde, BJP sources said The Indian Express.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Jadhav was confident the party would overcome the current crisis and criticized the rebel faction, saying there should be a limit to greed. The Parbhani MP said it was Shiv Sena who shaped the political careers of many leaders and they should never forget him. In a video, Jadhav said he strongly supports party chairman Uddhav Thackeray and feels indebted to the party for meeting his expectations “beyond imagination”, reports

With contributions from agencies

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