Maharashtra’s grip on the major political crisis began when the legislative council elections were held on June 20, and soon afterward, senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde vanished and was unreachable. Shinde, along with 11 other MLAs, were said to have flown to Surat, in the BJP-ruled state of Gujarat.
The following day, Uddhav Thackeray called a meeting with all of his MLAs, out of which 12 of them were unavailable. Shinde was removed from his position as Shiv Sena whip. He requested that Thackeray end the 'unnatural' MVA alliance and form a government with the BJP. To avoid disqualification under India's anti-defection laws, Shinde needed the support of more than 37 MLAs, which is two-thirds of the total strength of 55. He claimed to have the backing of over 40 MLAs.
Shinde and the 40 MLAs traveled to Guwahati, Assam, another BJP-ruled state, on June 22. On the same day, in the evening, Uddhav Thackeray announces his willingness to step down as the alliance's leader and as chief minister. Shinde and 37 MLAs declared him the Shiv Sena legislature party's leader on June 23.
On June 24, the Shiv Sena filed a petition against the rebel MLAs, requesting that Maharashtra Assembly Deputy Speaker Narahari Zirwal disqualify 16 MLAs from the Shinde camp. Zirwal met with Shiv Sena leaders before seeking legal advice from Maharashtra's Advocate-General. Two independent MLAs who backed the BJP introduced a no-confidence motion against Zirwal. Zirwal rejected the no-confidence vote signed by 34 MLAs because the petition was sent via anonymous e-mail and was not submitted by an MLA himself.
On the same day, Shinde, Amit Shah, and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reportedly met in Vadodara, Gujarat, to plan a merger or coalition to destabilise the MVA government. Shinde filed a petition with the Supreme Court of India on June 26 to challenge the rejection of the no-confidence vote against the Deputy Speaker. The Supreme Court of India set the next hearing for July 11 and ordered Deputy Speaker Zirwal to file a detailed affidavit regarding the no-confidence motion against him.
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