What is anti-defection law and when it does not apply
Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, along with several other MLAs, on Tuesday went incommunicado and rebelled against the party, sending the major political outfits into a huddle in Maharashtra.
Shinde, who is currently in a Guwahati-based hotel along with other MLAs, claimed that he has the support of more than 40 Shiv Sena MLAs and six independent MLAs. This could help him avoid the anti-defection law. The question arises about how the anti-defection law works.
The anti-defection law disqualifies individual MPs or MLAs if they leave one political party for another. However, this law does not apply when two-thirds of MPs or MLAs from one political party merge with another. There is no punishment for the party that encourages or accepts defecting legislators.
In short, defections are valid only when the absolute majority of a party's legislators want a split. Parliament brought the law in 1985 to shield governments from unnecessary instability triggered by defections.
So, Shinde, who has dropped "Shiv Sena" from his Twitter bio, will need the support of 37 MLAs to escape disqualification from the Legislative Assembly. And how many does he have? From being the Sena chief whip, who ensured MLAs voted in the Legislative Assembly as the leadership wished, to being a man who changed the game in Maharashtra's politics, Shinde has claimed the support of 40 of the 55 Sena MLAs and six independent MLAs.