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Outnumbered? Uddhav Thackeray’s Summer Shock

Maharashtra crisis: A signed letter from 34 MLAs to the Governor, dispatched late Wednesday afternoon, proclaimed Eknath Shinde as their leader.

MUMBAI, India

Eknath Shinde, leading a revolt against Uddhav Thackeray, has claimed the backing of 40 MLAs but this has been challenged by party leader Sanjay Raut, who said at least half of them were “in touch” to come back.

  1. Deepak Kesakar (MLA from Sawantwadi), Mangesh Kudalkar (Chembur) and Sada Sarvankar (Dadar) took a morning flight from Mumbai to Guwahati, Assam. At least 40 MLAs are present with Eknath Shinde at Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati. This includes eight Independent MLAs, according to sources.
  2. “I won’t talk about any camp; I will talk about my party. Our party is strong even to this day. About 20 MLAs are in touch with us. When they come to Mumbai, you will get to know,” Sanjay Raut, who is Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson, said. “It will soon be revealed, in what circumstances and pressure these MLAs left us.”
  3. The Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP — the alliance partners of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra — have suggested that rebel Eknath Shinde be named as Chief Minister as a way out of the huge political crisis that has engulfed the ruling coalition, sources said.
  4. Eknath Shinde, who is leading the Sena revolt, has claimed that the ruling coalition was beneficial only to alliance partners, while ordinary Shiv Sainiks have suffered the most in the last two-and-a-half years of the coalition’s rule.
  5. “It is important to take a decision in the interest of the state,” Mr Shinde, who is camping in Guwahati along with rebel Sena MLAs, tweeted Wednesday. With the last two-and-a-half years of the coalition’s existence at stake, Mr Thackeray on Wednesday mentioned his father and party founder Balasaheb Thackeray as he made an emotional address 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 am Balasaheb’s son, I am not after a post,” Uddhav Thackeray — who tested positive for Covid — said in a Facebook address Wednesday evening.
  6. The rebel MLAs, camping in BJP-ruled Assam, met shortly after Mr Thackeray’s address. The meeting lasted about 50 minutes. Mr Shinde has claimed that he has the support of 46 MLAs, including 6-7 Independent MLAs. “This number will rise in the time to come,” Mr Shinde was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. Earlier, Assam Cabinet Minister Ashok Singhal was seen at the Radisson Blu hotel in Guwahati, where the MLAs are staying.
  7. Trinamool Congress held a massive protests outside the hotel in Guwahati, accusing the Assam’s ruling BJP government of investing its resources to overthrow Uddhav Thackeray government. The Trinamool Congress alleged that the state government had done nothing to alleviate the sufferings of those hit by massive floods in the state.
  8. The BJP says the political crisis in Maharashtra is the Shiv Sena’s internal matter and that the party is not staking claim to form a government in the state. “We haven’t spoken to Eknath Shinde. This is Shiv Sena’s internal matter.
    BJP has nothing to do with this. We’re not staking claim to form the government,” Union Minister Raosaheb Patil Danve, who met party leader Devendra Fadnavis, told the media.
  9. The journey from his official residence at Malabar Hills to his home ‘Matoshree’ in Bandra – which usually takes 15-20 minutes – took almost one hour as Mr Thackeray’s entourage negotiated hundreds of Shiv Sainiks who had gathered at the 15-km stretch braving the Mumbai rain.
  10. A signed letter from 34 MLAs to the Governor, dispatched late Wednesday afternoon, proclaimed Eknath Shinde as their leader. Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut, meanwhile, has asserted that Mr Thackeray will not resign, and maintained the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) will prove its majority in the Assembly if required.
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