Maharashtra: Amid Sena revolt, CM Uddhav Thackeray vacates official residence
As the political crisis in Maharashtra showed no sign of ebbing, Shiv Sena chief and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday night vacated his official residence and moved to his family home in Bandra. Earlier, Thackeray had offered to quit the CM's post. However, rebel Sena leader Eknath Shinde remained adamant that Sena should walk out of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance.
- Rebel Sena MLA Eknath Shinde claimed on Wednesday that he has 40 MLAs with him who wanted to carry forward Balasaheb Thackeray's 'Hindutva.'
- He was displeased with the Sena joining hands with the Congress and NCP to form the MVA alliance in Maharashtra.
- Shinde, who left Mumbai for Surat on Monday, reportedly arrived in Guwahati on Wednesday and was received by BJP leaders there.
The CM, who had tested COVID-19 positive earlier on Wednesday, moved out of 'Varsha'—the official residence, for 'Matoshri'—the family bungalow around 9:50 pm. He was accompanied by his wife Rashmi Thackeray, sons Aaditya, who is a Cabinet minister, and Tejas Thackeray. Hundreds of party workers had lined up from 'Varsha' to 'Matoshri' and were sloganeering in Thackeray's support. He reached 'Matoshri' at 10:30 pm.
Earlier on Wednesday, Thackeray, in an emotional appeal, reached out to Shinde and other rebels camping in Guwahati, and said that he was ready to step down if they didn't want him to continue as CM. He further said that he was ready to give up the post of the party president if Shiv Sainiks feel he is incapable of leading the MVA government.
"Why make statements from Surat and other places. Come and tell me on my face that I am incompetent to handle the CM's post and Shiv Sena president. I will resign. I will keep my resignation letter ready and you can take it to the Raj Bhavan," Thackeray said. He also clarified that a spine surgery last year kept him away from meeting people.
Shinde, however, showed no signs of backtracking from his revolt and said that the Sena must break off from the "unnatural" MVA alliance—of which the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are part. Shinde alleged that while the NCP and the Congress were growing stronger in the alliance, the Sena--which heads the governing bloc--and its workers were getting weaker by the day.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had on Tuesday called Shinde's revolt an internal crisis of the Shiv Sena. On Wednesday, however, he reportedly expressed displeasure and questioned why there was no intelligence on Shinde flying out with MLAs on Monday. Meanwhile, the Congress on Tuesday deputed its senior leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath as an AICC observer in Maharashtra.