Maharashtra’s Uddhav Thackeray-led cabinet of state gave the go-ahead on Wednesday to rename Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar and neighboring Osmanabad to Dharashiv, in an apparent attempt to flaunt its Hindutva roots that have been questioned by dissident Eknath Shinde. camp and the opposition BJP. The cabinet also approved the decision to change the name of Navi Mumbai Airport to DY Patil International Airport. The MVA allies NCP and Congress, which had always opposed this move, appeared to have caved in under pressure. During the cabinet meeting, Thackeray said: “Today we are in this situation because I have been betrayed by myself.”
The development comes just a day before the planned floor test that the government of Thackeray will undergo on Friday at 11 a.m. on the floor of the state assembly. The decisions, made at a cabinet meeting held at 5 p.m. today, came even as the Supreme Court was in the process of hearing the MVA’s arguments in a plea against the governor’s decision to demand a floor test, even if the disqualification process continues. 16 of Sena rebel MLAs were pending in the highest court.
Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde has claimed the support of 39 of the 55 Shiv Sena MLAs, leaving the MVA well behind the majority in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly. Shinde and the rebel MLAs had attacked Thackeray because he had an “unnatural alliance” with the NCP and Congress,
Earlier in the day, Governor BS Koshyari had sent a letter to the secretary of the state legislature. “There is extensive reporting in the electronic and print media that 39 MLAs from the Shiv Sena Legislative Party have expressed their sincere desire and decision to leave the government of Maha Vikas Aghadi,” the governor wrote, adding: “After careful through all the material available to me including the reports in electronic and print media I believe that a floor test to prove the majority of the Prime Minister is necessary to ensure that the government continues to function with the confidence of the House.”