Maharashtra crisis: Eknath Shinde claims support of 50 Sena MLAs
Amid the political impasse in Maharashtra, rebel Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde on Tuesday claimed the support of 50 MLAs and said he would return to Mumbai from Guwahati soon. Shinde said, "We are in Shiv Sena and we are taking Shiv Sena forward." This came even as CM Uddhav Thackeray appealed to the rebel MLAs to return to Mumbai and talk to him.
- The political crisis in Maharashtra began following a rebellion by Shinde last week. Later, he claimed he had the support of 40 MLAs against the present government.
- He was displeased with the Sena joining hands with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance.
- He claimed Sena MLAs were sidelined, while alliance partners benefited the most.
Shinde also dared the Thackerays to disclose the names of the rebel MLAs who were in touch with the Shiv Sena leadership. This came after Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray claimed that 15-20 MLAs had reached out to the party to bring them back to Mumbai from Guwahati. Shinde claimed that "no MLA has been suppressed," and they are all with him willingly.
Appealing to the rebel MLAs to return, CM Thackeray said, "Many of you are in contact with us and are still emotionally connected with the Shiv Sena. The families of several have also got in touch with us and conveyed your sentiments to us." "As party president and family head, I still care for you. I appeal to you all...come before me," he added.
In an impassioned address to Shivsainiks on Monday, Aaditya alleged, "When the CM was hospitalized, they (rebels) sold themselves. I would like to ask them, is there no humanity left? We trusted them." "There are two groups in Guwahati—15-16 people who are in touch with us... The other group is the one that has run away, they have no courage and morality," he added.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Monday gave Shinde and 15 other rebel MLAs time till July 11 to respond to the disqualification notices served to them by Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal on Saturday. The MLAs had challenged these notices before the apex court. Shinde had also claimed the Maharashtra government removed the protection from the homes of the 16 dissident lawmakers, including himself.