Mumbai, Jun 26:  With dissident Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde staying put in Guwahati for the last five days, the party is preparing for a legal battle amid the crisis, a Sena MP said on Sunday.

Devdutt Kamat, the legal advisor-cum-counsel for Shiv Sena, said the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly has full powers to adjudicate in the absence of the Speaker- the post is lying vacant. Maharashtra Political Crisis Live Updates

A day earlier, the Maharashtra legislature secretariat had issued 'summons' to 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, including senior minister Eknath Shinde, seeking written replies by the evening of June 27 to the complaints seeking their disqualification.

"A legislature party is not supreme and majority in the legislature party has no meaning (if) it is formed from the original party," Kamat told reporters flanked by Shiv Sena chief spokesman and Lok Sabha MP Arvind Sawant.

"We are preparing for a legal battle," Sawant said.

Kamat said disqualification proceedings have been initiated against 16 rebel MLAs as per para 2.1.A of the 10th schedule of the Constitution.

"Several verdicts of the Supreme Court had shown that actions of legislators outside the House amount to the anti-party activity and they are liable to be disqualified. They haven't responded to the party directives to attend meetings convened," he said.

When asked about the options available for the dissident group of MLAs, Kamat said disqualification applies to them until they merge with another political outfit.

"The governor can call for a floor test on the advice of the chief minister," he said.

Addressing a virtual press conference from Guwahati on Saturday, rebel MLA Deepak Kesarkar had said the rebel group enjoys a two-thirds majority in the legislature party and will prove its strength in the House but will not merge with any other political party.

Kamat said the concept of a merger was introduced in 2003.

Earlier, Zirwal had acknowledged the appointment of Ajay Chaudhary as the new legislature party leader of Shiv Sena, replacing Eknath Shinde.

The rebel MLAs have asserted that they are Shivsainiks of Bal Thackeray and demanded that party president Uddhav Thackeray walk out of the Maha Vikas Aghadi and revive ties with BJP.

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