Maharashtra: 3 more MLAs reach Guwahati, join 'Eknath Shinde' camp
The trouble for ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra appears to have deepened as three more party MLAs left Mumbai to support senior leader Eknath Shinde, who is at the core of a revolt that threatens to divide the party, NDTV reported. The Shinde camp now has 36 MLAs on its side out of the party's 55 MLAs, it said.
As per reports, Deepak Kesakar (MLA from Sawantwadi), Mangesh Kudalkar (Chembur) and Sada Sarvankar (Dadar) took the morning flight from Mumbai to Guwahati, where rebel legislators are presently camping. The camp now needs just one more to split the party and prevent disqualification under anti-defection law. Meanwhile, Sena's alliance partners, the Congress and the NCP, have suggested that rebel Shinde be named as CM.
The Sena uprising is led by Eknath Shinde, who claims that the ruling coalition benefits only alliance partners. He said that the coalition's control has harmed common Shiv Sainiks the most. "It is important to take a decision in the interest of the state," Shinde, who is camping with dissident Sena MLAs in Guwahati, tweeted on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena's mouthpiece publication, 'Saamana', stated that the rebel MLAs were elected on Shiv Sena tickets, threatening that if the Shiv Sainiks decide, then every rebel legislator would be the former MLA forever.
Amid the crisis for the existing coalition, Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday made an emotional address to rebels mentioning his father and party founder Balasaheb Thackeray. "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," he said in a Facebook address.
The rebel MLAs, camping in BJP-ruled Assam, met shortly after Mr. Thackeray's address. The meeting lasted about 50 minutes. Shinde has claimed that he has the support of 46 MLAs, including 6-7 Independent MLAs. Meanwhile, 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.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Shiv Sainiks braved the Mumbai rain to witness CM Thackeray relocate from his official residence 'Varsha' in Malabar Hills to his Bandra home 'Matoshree' and offered their support. Meanwhile, Sanjay Raut, the Shiv Sena's principal spokesperson, has stated that Thackeray will not resign and that the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) will show its majority in the Assembly if necessary.