Amid the worst political crisis for the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, Sanjya Raut, close aide of Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, said that the party can leave the alliance if all MLAs want the same. ”If they wish that Shiv Sena should exit the MVA government, then they must come to Mumbai and present their case before Sena chief,” said Raut in a press conference.
Raut also urged rebel party MLAs led by Eknath Shinde to not communicate from Guwahati over social media, and come back within 24 hours. His statement comes amid demands to renew ties with the BJP, and quit the MVA keeping in mind the “interest” of Maharashtra.
Raut, who is also a Member of Parliament, said that Uddhav Thackeray will come back to Varsha (Chief Minister House) very soon. He also claimed that at least 21 rebel MLAs from Guwahati are in touch with the Shiv Sena, and will soon rejoin the party. Meanwhile, Congress leader Nana Patole has said that the Shiv Sena should tie up with the BJP if it wants, and that the Congress is ready for a floor test.
Eknath Shinde, who is currently in CM Himanta Biswa’s flood-hit state Assam with his supporting MLAs, demanded that Thackeray must break the alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress. He alleged that the Shiv Sena had suffered during the MVA coalition rule in Maharashtra.
The Maharashtra government – a team of three unlikely partners – has been fragile since it first took office just over two and half years. The main motive that united the parties was to keep the BJP out of power in the state. Shiv Sena, the second-largest party in the 2019 assembly polls, formed the Maha Vikas Aghadi government with the help of the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP.
How Did The Crisis Unfold?
The crisis in the Maharashtra government began a day after the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) polls concluded, in which the Shiv Sena faced a major setback and secured only 2 seats out of 10. The Eknath Shinde-led group is suspected to have cross-voted during the election, in favour of the BJP. The opposing BJP won 5 seats in the MLC election.
Although the main political drama erupted on Tuesday morning, when Eknath Shinde appeared to be in a five-star hotel in Surat, Gujarat, with more than 40 supporting MLAs. Shinde’s revolt was a clear sign of the fall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government. To cope with the crisis, the CM spoke to the rebel leader, and urged him to come back to the fold with all party MLAs.
Amid speculation that the Shiv Sena may split, Shinde issued a statement saying that he is not quitting the party, and will carry forward the Hindutva ideology of Balasaheb Thackeray. Reportedly, the party also sent two aides to talk to Shinde in Surat.
“We are Balasaheb’s staunch Shiv Sainiks. Balasaheb has taught us Hindutva. We have never and will never cheat for power when it comes to Babasaheb’s thoughts and Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb’s teachings,” Shinde said in his Tweet.
In the early hours of Wednesday, the Shinde-led group left for the BJP-ruled Assam, to avoid being directly in touch with Shiv Sena leaders. Shinde claims that he has more than 40 MLAs supporting him, who also want to break ties with the Congress and the NCP for the interest of the people of Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray, late on Wednesday, took to Facebook and said that if the rebel MLAs want it then “let me resign”. During the conversation, the CM, in response to Shinde’s allegation that the party has deviated from Balasaheb’s Hindutva ideology, said that Hindutva and Shiv Sena cannot be separated from each other.
Amid the speculation of the fall of the MVA, Thackeray also played an emotional card and left his official residence ‘Varsha’, late on Wednesday evening, to go to his private residence ‘Matoshree’. During this car ride, thousands of Shiv Sena supporters came out and pledged their support to the party.
Meanwhile, speaking with the NDTV, Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar said that no one wants resignation from Uddhav Thackeray, and stressed that he wants the CM to not ally with the Congress and the NCP, and quit MVA immodestly. Kesarkar alleged that the Shiv Sena is not getting any funds, while the NCP and the Congress are enjoying the most.
If Shinde’s coup succeeds, the BJP can easily form the government in Maharashtra. The magic number for the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly is 144. BJP, which currently has 106 MLAs, can ask Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for a trust vote, if the rebel MLAs show their interest to go with their old alliance.
However, the BJP has not said anything about the ongoing political turmoil in Maharashtra so far. Yesterday, Union Minister of State Raosaheb Patil Danve, who met party leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday, said that it’s Shiv Sena’s internal matter, and that the BJP has nothing to do with this.