Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra fights for survival 

BL Pune Bureau | | Updated on: Jun 21, 2022
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray

Sena leader Eknath Shinde has revolted against the party and is said to have the support of about 35 MLAs

The Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra is facing a survival challenge with senior Shiv Sena leader and Minister Eknath Shinde revolting against the party and camping with his supporter MLAs in Surat, Gujarat. Shinde supporters claim that he has the support of about 35 MLAs and would support or join the BJP to form the government in Maharashtra.   

Following a humiliating defeat in the State Legislative Council elections on Monday, the Uddhav Thackeray-led government is on shaky ground and the BJP is gearing up to bounce back in the State. 

Shinde and his supporters are “not reachable” since Monday night. Sources said Shinde and the Shiv Sena MLAs supporting him were unhappy with Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership and want the Sena to snap ties with the Congress and the NCP, and support the BJP to form the government. 

The BJP has 106 MLAs, Shiv Sena 56, NCP 53, and Congress 44 MLAs in the State Assembly. However, in the State Council polls conducted on Monday, BJP candidates received 134 votes. BJP leaders say that it is clear that ruling party MLAs and independents have voted for its BJP candidates and hence the party is near the magic figure of 144 MLAs required to prove its majority on the floor of the House.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called a meeting of party MLAs on Tuesday evening where 18 MLAs were present, according to reports. Thackeray removed Shinde from the post of leader of the party in the State Legislature. Ajay Chaudhary, Shiv Sena MLA from Sewri, has replaced Shinde as the new Legislative Party Leader. Thackeray is holding a series of meetings with alliance partners NCP and Congress leaders. 

Shinde’s stand 

Rebel Sena leader Eknath Shinde tweeted “Balasaheb has taught us Hindutva. We have never and will never cheat for power regarding Balasaheb’s thoughts and Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb’s teachings”. Later, Shinde dropped Shiv Sena off his Twitter bio.

Shinde is a senior leader from Thane and his son Shrikant is the Shiv Sena MP from Thane. According to party sources, the BJP has been tapping Shinde and his supporters for the last few months. 

Meanwhile, according to reports, Uddhav Thackeray had held telephonic discussions with Shinde and requested him to return to the party fold.

The numbers game

Rebel Shiv Sena leader Shinde would need the support of at least 36 MLAs, that is two-thirds of the 54 Sena MLAs, excluding Shinde. While BJP leaders claim that Shinde has the support of more than 35 MLAs, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the majority of Shiv Sena MLAs are with the party, and BJP has “kidnapped” Sena MLAs and held them in Gujarat.

If Shinde fails to get the support of two-thirds of his party MLAs, he and his supporters might face disqualification.

Wait and watch says Pawar  

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Sharad Pawar said the revolt in the Shiv Sena is an internal matter of the party and he was waiting for a communication from Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. When asked if NCP will join hands with the BJP, an agitated Pawar said, “We can also sit in the opposition”. When asked again about joining hands with the BJP, Pawar preferred to keep mum. 

He said considering the situation, he was confident that a way would be worked out to save the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra. He also insisted that there was no question of replacing Uddhav Thackeray as Chief Minister with rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde.

Published on June 21, 2022
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