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Maharashtra political crisis: Can BJP repeat 'Operation Lotus' similar to Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh?

As Sena struggled to quell the unrest, party MP Sanjay Raut claimed that contact has been established with Shinde, who he described as a “loyal Shiv Sainik of Balasaheb Thackeray”.

Shashwat Bhandari Written by: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Updated on: June 22, 2022 6:35 IST
Maharashtra LoP Devender Fadnavis and Chief Minister
Image Source : PTI

Maharashtra LoP Devender Fadnavis and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray (Right)


  • Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde is camping in Surat with few other party MLAs
  • Shinde's move has put a question mark on the stability of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA govt
  • Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil ruled out any link of his party to the ongoing crisis

Maharashtra political crisis: The Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra appears to be in crisis after Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde and some MLAs of his party have gone incommunicado and camping in Surat, a day after suspected cross-voting in MLC polls, putting a question mark on the stability of the MVA dispensation.

As Shinde is yet to spell out his stand, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil ruled out any link of his party to the ongoing political developments but also said the BJP would "definitely consider" a proposal if it comes from Shinde to form a government.

Speaking in Delhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said there is an attempt to pull down the Maharashtra government, which he said is happening for the third time. He also said that Uddhav Thackeray will handle the situation which is an internal matter of the Sena.

What the numbers speak? 

In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, BJP emerged as the single-largest party in 2019 assembly elections winning 106 seats, Shiv Sena 55, NCP 53, Congress 44, Bahujan Vikas Agahdi 3, Samajwadi Party, AIMIM and Prahar Janshakti Party won two seats each.

MNS, CPI-M, PWP, Swabhimani Paksha, Rashtriya Samaj Party, Jansurajya Shakti Party and Krantikari Shetkari Paksha won one seat each. There are 13 independent MLAs.

BJP and Shiv Sena fought the elections with pre-poll alliance but did not form the government together after no agreement was reached on the post of chief minister. There were talks of 2.5 years tenure for the CM with candidates representing from both the parties but talks didn't prove fruitful.

Shiv Sena-BJP's nearly 3-decade-old alliance finally broke out while the former formed the government with NCP and Congress, calling it Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government while BJP emerged as the main opposition.  

India Tv - Maharashtra political crisis, Shiv Sena, BJP

Image Source : INDIA TVHow MLA numbers stand currently if Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde and other party rebel MLAs remain intact.

According to reports, there are almost 35 Shiv Sena MLAs who are camping in Gujarat's Surat. If the crisis continues and they support BJP, then the saffron party may get an absolute majority. The BJP's tally with be 153 more than what is required 145 to form the government while MVA will be left with 134.  

Will Uddhav save MVA from current political crisis

India Tv - Maharashtra political crisis, Shiv Sena, BJP

Image Source : INDIA TV

Number with Shiv Sena and BJP if the current political crisis continues.

With Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde and other party MLAs now camping in Gujarat, the ground is not smooth for CM Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government.

Sources say Shinde is not happy with the party's conduct. Amid this, the BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in 2019 assembly elections, is keeping a low-profile saying they have nothing to do with the recent political developments, but said they would "definitely consider" a proposal if it comes from Shinde to form a government.

Meanwhile, leaders of NCP and Congress, the other constituents of the MVA, however, asserted that there is no threat to the stability of the state government.

Opportunity for BJP to form govt in Maharashtra?

The current political crisis in Maharashtra is not new for the BJP. In fact, the saffron party has grabbed such opportunities to topple the government whenever it has been in the opposition as the single largest party.

Previously, BJP was able to form government in Karnataka in 2019, and Madhya Pradesh 2020, when a section of MLAs of the ruling coalition in the respective states rebelled against their own governments.  

Madhya Pradesh political crisis 2020

In March 2020, the then CM Kamal Nath-led government was toppled after then Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia -- who was considered close to Rahul Gandhi -- rebelled against his own government with considerable support from other party MLAs.

On 5 March 2020, 10 MLAs (6 Congress members, 2 from BSP, 1 from SP and 1 Independent), flew to Delhi but 6 of those initially returned.

The remaining 4 MLAs then flew to Bengaluru, where Congress MLA Hardeep Dang resigned from the party. The remaining three MLAs returned soon and denied the claims, made by other Congress leaders, that they were a part of horse-trading.

On 10 March 2020, Jyotiraditya Scindia met PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, post which he resigned from the Congress party.

Scindia joined the BJP next day on March 11 in the presence of BJP chief JP Nadda. During his induction, he slammed the Kamal Nath government, other Congress leaders for not giving importance in the party.

Scindia was fielded as Rajya Sabha candidate by the BJP from Madhya Pradesh.

Floor test of Kamal Nath Govt

As the crisis continued, the matter went to the Supreme Court (SC) which ordered for a floor test. The apex court ordered that the floor test should be done by 5:00 pm, of 20 March 2020. 

However, even before the floor test was initiated, Kamal Nath in a presser on March 20 tendered his resignation as he didn't have the numbers to continue in the government.

Post this, all 22 rebel ex-Congress MLAs joined the BJP on March 22 in presence of JP Nadda and Shivraj Singh Chouhan once again took oath as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister on March 23. 

Karnataka political crisis

In Karnataka assembly elections 2017, the BJP emerged as the single largest party winning 105 seats but fell short of the absolute majority to form the government. Though BJP legislative party leader BS Yediyurappa did took oath as CM but since his government was in minority, a floor test was held which he failed to win.

The result was Congress with 79 MLAs and JDS with 37 MLAs formed a coalition government in Karnataka. But within less than 2 years of the Congress+JDS government, a political crisis started emerging out.

In 2019, with 15 rebels MLAs, including 12 of the Congress and 3 of the JD-S decided not to attend the legislative session while two Congress legislators (B. Nagendra and Srimant Patil) had admitted in Bengaluru and Mumbai private hospitals.

The strength of the allies in the House then reduced to 99 (65 out of 79 of the Congress plus 34 out of 37 of the JD-S), including the Speaker (from Congress) in the 225-member Assembly.

After weeks of turmoil, Congress-JD(S) government was reduced to 101 seats while the BJP retained 105.

The matter went to Supreme Court and a floor test took place in which Kumarasamy lost the trust vote and resigned.

The BJP won the trust vote and on July 26, 2019 and BS Yediyurappa was sworn in as Karnataka Chief Minister once again.

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