Mumbai, October 29: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will not be disqualified and in case that happens, he will be elected as an MLC and will retain his post. The Supreme Court on October 17 granted state assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar a final opportunity to give it a realistic time-frame for deciding the cross-petitions filed by rival factions of the Shiv Sena seeking disqualification of each other's MLAs following a split in the party last year.

The apex court is scheduled to hear on Monday pleas filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena and the Sharad Pawar bloc of the NCP, seeking a direction to Narwekar to expeditiously decide disqualification petitions against some MLAs. Speaking to TV9 Marathi channel on Saturday, Fadnavis said, “The first thing is that Shinde will not get disqualified. Even if he gets disqualified, we will get him elected him to the legislative council and he will retain the chief minister's post. The next election is going to be contested under his leadership only.” Shiv Sena MLA Disqualification Row: Ahead of Hearing in Supreme Court, Maharashtra Speaker Rahul Narwekar Heads to Delhi

The apex court had earlier come down hard on the state assembly speaker over the delay in deciding the pleas filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction for disqualification of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and several MLAs loyal to him, saying the speaker cannot defeat the orders of the top court. Similar disqualification petitions have also been filed by the Shinde bloc against lawmakers owing allegiance to Thackeray. Maharashtra MLA Disqualification Case: Supreme Court Issues Stern Warning to Speaker Rahul Narwekar on Delay in Deciding Defection Petitions

On September 18, the top court directed the speaker to spell out the timeline for adjudication of the disqualification petitions against Shinde and Shiv Sena MLAs owing allegiance to him who had tied up with the BJP to form a new government in June 2022. The court had asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to apprise the bench of the time schedule to be fixed by the speaker for deciding the pleas for disqualification of 56 MLAs including lawmakers belonging to the Shinde faction.