New Delhi: The political stalemate within the ruling Shiv Sena continued on Wednesday as rebel Maharashtra MLAs led by Eknath Khadse remained firm on their demand to join hands with BJP. Another day went by without a resolution to the differences which have erupted within the party over its alliance with Congress and NCP.
While Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) came into being owing to the then situation, Shinde called it an “unnatural alliance”. The rebel leader appealed that Shiv Sena should walk out of the coalition for the sake of the party and its members. He alleged that alliance, formed in November 2019, was only benefitting Congress and NCP while ordinary Shiv Sainiks suffered. The Shiv Sena formed the MVA after breaking its ties with the BJP post-Assembly polls in 2019.
“It is necessary to quit the unnatural alliance for the sake of Shiv Sainiks and the Shiv Sena. It is important to take a decision in the interest of the state,” Shinde, who is camping in Guwahati along with rebel Sena MLAs, tweeted. His tweets were in Marathi with #Hindutvaforever.
Shinde reportedly has the support of 36 MLAs, two short of the one-third majority required within party to avoid proceedings under the anti-defection law.
Shinde’s reaction came hours after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who has tested positive for Covid-19, virtually addressed the rebels. Thackeray said he was willing to step down as the Chief Minister as well as Sena chief if asked to. “If my people tell me to resign, I will resign. I am ready to resign if my people ask. Even if one MLA of Sena says, ‘resign in front of me’, I will resign. But they must say it to me in person.”
However, a defiant Uddhav Thackeray refused to go down without a fight. “I will fight the rebellion,” he said.
“I am also ready to resign as Shiv Sena chief. The sainiks must come and say that I can’t run the party like Balasaheb. If any sainik think that I am not efficient, tell it to my face and I will resign,” said Thackeray.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut asserted that Uddhav Thackeray will remain the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the ruling coalition MVA will prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly if needed.
Raut statement came in the backdrop of Thackeray and his family leaving ‘Varsha’, the official residence of the CM in South Mumbai, and going back to their private residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra. Thackeray is not resigning from his post, he clarified.
Thackeray Moves Out Of Official Residence
The Chief Minister on Wednesday night moved from his official residence in south Mumbai to family home in suburban Bandra, hours after offering to quit the top post amid rebellion by Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde.
Shiv Sena leaders like Neelam Gorhe and Chandrakant Khaire were present at ‘Varsha’ when Thackeray was leaving the official residence. Party workers raised slogans and showered petals on the CM as he left his official house along with his family members at around 9.50 pm.
Earlier, bags containing his personal belongings were seen being loaded in cars. During a ‘Facebook Live’ session in the evening, Thackeray had said he will be leaving ‘Varsha’ and residing at ‘Matoshree’.
Thackeray, who also heads the Shiv Sena, had moved to ‘Varsha’ after becoming the chief minister in November 2019.
However, this is not the first time the Chief Minister has left the official residence. He had done the same when the last time he contracted Covid-19.