Maharashtra crisis: Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut hints at Assembly dissolution
Even as the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra stares at an ensuing collapse with rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and some party MLAs moving to Assam's Guwahati, Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday hinted at the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly. "The ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra is heading to the dissolution of Vidhan Sabha," said Raut in a Twitter post.
Earlier on Wednesday, Raut had said that talks with Shinde were underway and in a positive direction. "Everybody will stay in Shiv Sena. Our party is a fighter, we will struggle consistently, at most we might lose power but we will continue to fight. Shinde is our very old party member, he is our friend. We have worked together for decades," Raut said.
महाराष्ट्रातील राजकीय घडामोडींचा प्रवास विधान सभा बरखास्तीचया दिशेने..— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) June 22, 2022
Raut's post on Twitter hinting at the dissolution of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly just hours came after rebel Sena MLA Eknath Shinde claimed earlier on Wednesday that he has 40 MLAs with him. Shinde, who left Mumbai for Surat on Monday evening, reportedly arrived in Guwahati early on Wednesday morning and was received by BJP leaders there.
The Congress has deputed former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath as the All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer in Maharashtra. However, since Maharashtra CM Thackeray has tested positive for COVID-19, Nath couldn't meet him. Meanwhile, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies—Shiv Sena, Congress, and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)—are holding back-to-back meetings to work out a solution to save the government from a collapse.
Thackeray is likely to address a meeting via video conferencing. Nath said that the Congress would continue to support the MVA government, while NCP chief Sharad Pawar termed the turmoil "an internal matter of the Sena." Meanwhile, some reports claim that the rebel MLAs might write to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari seeking for floor test in the State Legislative Assembly.
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."
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.
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 recent Maharashtra Legislative Council polls.