Shinde Faction Meets Lok Sabha Speaker in Bid to Take Control of Party in Parliament

The tussle to claim the Shiv Sena reached the doorsteps of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Tuesday as 12 MPs of the Eknath Shinde faction met him to put forth their demand to accept their lawmakers as floor leader and chief whip.

The MPs had a discussion for an hour in Parliament about the demands that they would present to the Speaker before meeting him.

A senior MP said that they have asked the Speaker to appoint Rahul Shewale, Lok Sabha lawmaker from Mumbai South Central, as their leader of the House and that Bhavana Gawali should remain the chief whip.

With Uddhav Thackeray removing the Shinde sympathisers from party posts and also Gawli as chief whip, the rival faction has aggressively begun the process of seizing control of the party in Parliament.

“We are the original Shiv Sena and have a majority of the MPs on our side. This is why we demand that our faction should lead the party in Parliament. There are 12 MPs who have joined us and there are two more willing to come,” said a Sena lawmaker. The Shiv Sena has 19 MPs.

Responding to whether a few Rajya Sabha members could switch sides as well, one of the MPs said that it seems unlikely for now.

When asked if they have given the letter with their demands to the Speaker, another MP said, “It must be in the dispatch or may have reached the Speaker but we did not meet him to give the letter.”

Sources in the party said that there is also a discussion on some of the Shinde camp MPs being included in the Modi cabinet soon.

The move is on expected lines as a few MPs including Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde’s son, Shrikant Shinde, signalled a split among party leaders holding public offices. This was when around 29 MLAs had joined Shinde recently, resulting in the fall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

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