Sena rebel Shinde claims he has 40 MLAs with him
Shiv Sena's rebel MLA, Eknath Shinde, claimed on Wednesday that he has 40 MLAs with him, adding that they will carry Balasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva. Shinde, who left Mumbai for Surat on Monday evening, arrived in Guwahati early in the morning. His remarks came as speculations are rife that they might join the BJP in a bid to topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Keen on continuing Sena founded by Balasaheb: Shinde
Speaking to reporters, Shinde said, "Here 40 MLAs are with me. Additional 10 MLAs will join me soon. I do not want to criticize anyone. We have not left Balasaheb Thackeray's Shiv Sena and will not leave it...We are keen on continuing the Sena founded by Balasaheb." They were received by BJP leaders Sushanta Borgohain and Pallab Lochan Das at the Guwahati airport.
Shinde drops 'Shiv Sena' from Twitter bio
Shinde has also dropped "Shiv Sena" from his Twitter bio and taken an apparent dig at the party for joining hands with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the MVA alliance in Maharashtra. He tweeted, "We are Balasaheb's staunch Shiv Sainiks... We have never and will never cheat for power regarding Balasaheb's thoughts and Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb's teachings."
Himanta Biswa Sarma likely to meet Shinde
Sources say that Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is likely to meet Shinde and the MLAs during the day. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut claimed that the rebellion was engineered by the BJP to topple the MVA alliance in the state. Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, however, said they were "currently waiting and keeping an eye on the situation."
Shinde was instrumental in strengthening Sena's presence in Thane
Shinde, who was the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly in 2014 after the Sena and BJP parted ways, had been instrumental in strengthening the party's presence in Thane. However, he apparently felt sidelined in the MVA government in spite of being given a Cabinet post. Meanwhile, the Sena requested the Deputy Speaker to give Ajay Chaudhary the Legislative Party leader's post.
Shinde apparently wants to become deputy CM
Amid the apparent turmoil in the Sena camp, an anonymous state Congress minister on Tuesday claimed that Shinde wants to become the deputy chief minister and hence there has been unrest within the Sena for about a week now. On the other hand, senior NCP leader and minister Chhagan Bhujbal said Sena and Congress MLAs cross-voted in the MLC polls.
Shiv Sena was founded by Balasaheb Thackeray in 1966
Balasaheb Thackeray founded the Shiv Sena on June 19, 1966, to advocate for the interest of Marathis. The Shiv Sena broke its alliance with the BJP and formed the MVA government with the NCP and the Congress in a post-poll alliance. The Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs, NCP (53), and Congress (44) in the 288-member House. The BJP has 106 MLAs.