The Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra — an alliance of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and the Congress — is facing serious challenges, with at least one-and-a-half dozen of Shiv Sena MLAs stating dissatisfaction with the government and relocating to a luxury hotel in Gujarat’s Surat district.

The MLAs are led by Eknath Shinde, a deputy Shiv Sena leader who is also Maharashtra’s urban development minister who, according to sources, is unhappy with the current administration because he feels sidelined.

Elections to 10 legislative council seats were held in the state on Monday (20th June), and the BJP received a total of 134 votes for its five candidates, despite having 106 MLAs in the assembly, by securing votes from self reliant members, smaller parties, and some votes from the MVA camp.

The Shiv Sena and the NCP each won two seats, while the Congress received only one.Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs, NCP has 51 (due to the fact that two of its MLAs, Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh, are in judicial custody and even facing separate money laundering charges, were not allowed to vote), while Congress has 44 MLAs.

However, the outcomes of the legislative council elections revealed that at least three MLAs from MVA alliance Shiv Sena and Congress, as well as a few more from smaller alliance partners, voted cross-party.

If the BJP maintains its majority in the assembly and disgruntled Shiv Sena MLAs join the opposition, the BJP can pass the 144 majority mark in Maharashtra with the help of independent candidates and smaller parties.