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Uddhav Thackeray Cabinet To Meet On Wednesday Amid Stalemate With Rebel Eknath Shinde

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who held a slew of party meetings, also spoke to Shinde over phone.

Maharashtra Cabinet minister Aditya Thackeray (L), Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray (Centre) and Maharashtra Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde (R). (Photo: ANI)
Maharashtra Cabinet minister Aditya Thackeray (L), Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray (Centre) and Maharashtra Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde (R). (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi: As the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra came under threat on Tuesday after senior Shiv Sena leader and Cabinet Minister Eknath Shinde rebelled against the party, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has called a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, 1 pm. Shinde, who has been camping with at least 33 other MLAs in Gujarat’s Surat, demanded that the Shiv Sena support its old ally BJP to form government in the state.

As the political turmoil deepened, while Shiv Sena moved MLAs loyal to Uddhav Thackeray to St Regis in Mumbai, the Eknath Shinde camp MLAs are likely to be moved to Guwahati.

Chief Minister Thackeray, who held a slew of party meetings, also spoke to Shinde over phone. Reiterating his demand to back a BJP-led government, Shinde told Thackeray: “Hindutva is paramount and we won’t compromise on it. I am not doing this for a ministerial berth. The only point is that we should make a government with BJP, which is our natural ally.”

Following the phone call, Thackeray said the party was in talks with Shinde and expressed confidence that he and the other rebel MLAs will return to party fold. Earlier in the day, Thackeray’s confidants Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak visited the Le Meridien hotel in Surat to meet Shinde.

Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil said some MLAs of the BJP would meet Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde camping in a Surat hotel in their “personal capacity” even as he distanced his party from the ongoing political crisis. He admitted that Maharashtra BJP MLA Sanjay Kute had met Shinde.

Patil also said if BJP receives any proposal from Eknath Shinde to form a government, they would “definitely consider it”.

ALSO READ: Maharashtra Political Turmoil: What Triggered Rebellion By Eknath Shinde?

Shinde is influential in the Shiv Sena and has been instrumental in strengthening the organisation in the Thane region. Shinde was made the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 2014 after the Shiv Sena parted ways with the BJP. He was appointed as a Cabinet minister in the MVA government.

However, Shinde has been feeling sidelined since the formation of the MVA government. Further, the alleviation of Aaditya Thackeray to being second in command in Shiv Sena and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, and the prominence given to him over the senior leader could be the reason behind the dissent.

Maharashtra Legislative Council Elections

Eknath Shinde, state Minister of Urban Development, rebelled against his party-led state government day after BJP’s win in Maharashtra Legislative Council elections. He demanded that BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis should be made the Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shinde himself the Deputy Chief Minister.

In the legislative council elections held on Monday, a total of 285 members of the 288-member Assembly voted. The Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs, the NCP 53, and the Congress 44. The BJP has the strength of 106 MLAs. Small parties and Independent MLAs total up to 29. According to the results, the BJP polled 133 votes to get all its five candidates elected. The MVA allies together polled 152 votes.