Maha political turmoil in the final round, Thackeray asked to face a floor test on Thursday

Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari has asked Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to face a floor test by convening a special session of the state legislature at 11 am on Thursday and prove majority to the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. In his letter to the secretary of the state legislature, Koshyari directed the proceedings to be completed by 5 pm on Thursday.

Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who returned to Mumbai after meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President JP Nadda in Delhi, met Koshyari along with four party MPs and handed over letters of support of eight independent MLAs.

In Guwahati, rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde said he would reach Mumbai for the necessary process.

On Tuesday, Fadnavis said he has demanded an immediate floor test and said that the 39 Shiv Sena members do not support the MVA government. “The government is in a minority.”

It marked a change in the stand of the BJP, which has been in wait-and-watch mode since the turmoil in the MVA last week. Despite the rebels camping in the BJP-ruled states of Gujarat and Assam, the party refused to make any public statements, saying it was an internal matter of the Shiv Sena.

Koshyari cited an email from seven independent MPs, Fadnavis’s letter and media coverage and said that Thackeray appears to have lost the majority. He said that in this background, the floor test was mandatory for Thackeray. He has given instructions to provide adequate security to the rebel MPs during the floor test.

“In view of the provocative statements made by some leaders, adequate security will be deployed outside and inside the Vidhan Bhawan [assembly] to maintain the sanctity of the voting process and to prevent any law and order situation that may arise. It may be possible,” he said. He also directed for live telecast of the proceedings of the House.

“As the constitutional head of state, I must ensure that the government works with the support and confidence of the House. Thus, I have issued a letter to the Chief Minister to prove my majority. Koshyari’s letter was sent to the state legislature at midnight.

Shiv Sena leaders have argued that any move of floor test will be legally challenged as disqualification proceedings against 16 rebels are still pending. The dissidents have protection from the Supreme Court till July 11.

The Shinde faction has 39 MLAs, who legally need more than two-thirds to break away from the Shiv Sena. Shinde, who has been camping in Guwahati since June 22, has said that he has the support of 50 MPs.

The turmoil started last week when Shinde and his loyalists left for Surat and later Guwahati. As the days passed, the rebels queued up and the Shiv Sena appealed to Deputy Speaker Narhari Jirwal to disqualify the 16 MPs.