Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray left his official residence last night, hours after an emotional appeal and an offer to stop. Shiv Sena rebels have written to the governor to declare Eknath Shinde their leader.
Here are the top 10 updates on this big story:
Sharad Pawar’s Congress and NCP — Shiv Sena’s alliance partners in Maharashtra — have proposed appointing rebel Eknath Shinde as Chief Minister as a way out of the massive political crisis that has engulfed the ruling coalition, sources said.
Eknath Shinde, who leads the Sena uprising, has argued that the ruling coalition has only benefited alliance partners, while ordinary Shiv Sainiks have suffered the most in the last two and a half years of the coalition’s rule. “It is important to make a decision in the interest of the state,” Mr Shinde, who camps in Guwahati with rebel MLAs Sena, tweeted Wednesday.
The Shiv Sena said in its spokeswoman, “Saamana”, that the rebel MLAs were elected on Shiv Sena tickets, warning “if the Shiv Sainiks decide, then everything will be first forever”.
With the last two and a half years of the coalition’s existence at stake, Mr Thackeray on Wednesday named his father and party founder Balasaheb Thackeray when he delivered an emotional speech to rebels.
“If my own people don’t want me as Chief Minister, he should walk up to me and say so…I’m ready to resign…I’m Balasaheb’s son, I’m not looking for a position” said Uddhav Thackeray. — who tested positive for Covid — said in a Facebook address tonight.
The rebel MLAs, camped in BJP-ruled Assam, met shortly after Mr Thackeray’s speech. The meeting lasted approximately 50 minutes. Mr Shinde has claimed that he has the support of 46 MLAs, including 6-7 independent MLAs. “This number will increase in the near future,” Shinde told ANI news agency.
The Shinde camp currently has 33 MLAs (out of the party’s 55 MLAs) on its side. Four more are needed to split the party without being disqualified under anti-defectors laws. Five independent MLAs are also with Mr Shinde. The ruling alliance has claimed 17 Sena MLAs are ready to return to Mumbai.
The BJP says the political crisis in Maharashtra is Shiv Sena’s internal affair and the party has no claim to forming a government in the state. “We have not spoken to Eknath Shinde. This is Shiv Sena’s internal matter. The BJP has nothing to do with this. We do not claim to form the government,” said Union Minister Raosaheb Patil Danve, who is party leader Devendra. Fadnavis met. told the media.
The journey from his official residence in Malabar Hills to his ‘Matoshree’ home in Bandra – which usually takes 15-20 minutes – took almost an hour as Mr Thackeray’s entourage negotiated with hundreds of Shiv Sainiks gathered on the 15 km long route around the Bombay rain.
A resolution passed by the Shiv Sena Legislative Party with signatures from 34 MLAs that rebel leader Eknath Shinde is still the leader has been sent to state governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. Shiv Sena’s chief spokesman Sanjay Raut, meanwhile, has claimed that Mr Thackeray will not resign, insisting that the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) will prove his majority in the Assembly if necessary.