Three more Shiv Sena MLAs have left Mumbai to back senior leader Eknath Shinde, at the centre of a rebellion that threatens to split the party.
The Shinde camp now has 36 MLAs (out of the party’s 55 MLAs) on its side. The Shinde camp now needs just one more to split the party without facing disqualification under anti-defection laws. Five Independent MLAs are with Shinde too.
Thackeray on Wednesday said that he would quit the Chief Minister’s post and even the party’s top position if his party workers told him to do so to his face. Insisting that he had always overcome challenges, Thackeray said that he was ready to face more and wouldn’t mind if another Sena worker replaced him as the CM.
In an emotional address to the people over Facebook, Thackeray, who has tested positive for COVID-19 said: “We joined hands with Congress and NCP (Nationalist Congress Party), but it’s not they who are telling me to quit. The sad part for me is that my own people [Shiv Sainiks] have lost trust on me. I considered them mine; I don’t know about them. I am ready to resign. But come and meet me face-to-face. Tell me that I should quit on my face and I will resign.”
The Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP — the alliance partners of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra — have suggested that rebel Eknath Shinde be named as Chief Minister as a way out of the huge political crisis that has engulfed the ruling coalition, NDTV quotes sources as saying.
On the other hand, Shinde, has been demanding that the Sena ally with the BJP, for the sake of Hindutva, by cutting ties with the Congress and the NCP. Replying to Thackeray, Shinde tweeted that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government benefited only its allies and harmed Sena workers.