Mumbai: Shiv Sena on Tuesday removed its Urban Development minister Eknath Shinde from the post of party group leader as Shinde took some of the party MLAs with him and camping in Surat, a day after suspected cross-voting in MLC polls. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray had called for an urgent meeting after Sena leader Shinde and a few MLAs were missing in action. MLA Ajay Chaudhry will replace Shinde.
Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra’s MVA government is facing a major political crisis as Shinde and 22 Sena MLAs are “not reachable”. There are allegations of cross-voting by some Shiv Sena MLAs in favour of BJP candidates. Some reports suggest 12 Sena MLAs are with Shinde.
MLC poll results triggered crisis?
The BJP won five seats in the MLC elections while Shiv Sena and National Congress Party (NCP) bagged two each and its MVA ally got one seat.
The legislators supporting Shinde include Mahendra Thorve, Bharat Gogavale, Mahesh Shinde, Vishwanath Bhoir, Dhyanraj Chowgule, Sanjay Rathod, Srinivas Vanaga, Sanjay Gaikwad and Sanjay Raimulkar. Minister of State Abdul Sattar, Balaji Kinikar, Shantaram More, Anil Babar, Tanaji Sawant and Sanjay Shirsath have reportedly moved to Meridian Hotel alongwith Shinde and other MLAs.
It may be noted here that 13 votes of Shiv Sena found to be split in the Legislative Council results that were declared Monday night. Shinde and other Sena MLAs have gone incommunicado since.
Eknath Shinde spells out his stand
Meanwhile, Eknath Shinde tweeted in Marathi saying as a staunch believer of Balasaheb’s Hindutva philosophy, he will not cheat for the sake of power. As per reports, Eknath Shinde was present at Vidhan Bhavan on Monday till around 5 prime minister narendra modi along with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.
"We are Balasaheb's staunch Shiv Sainiks. Balasaheb has taught us Hindutva. We have never and will never cheat for power on Balasaheb's thoughts and Anand Dighe Saheb's teachings", tweets Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde— ANI (@ANI) June 21, 2022
(File Pic) pic.twitter.com/ysQhDhtL3b
Reacting to the developments, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut blamed the BJP for the current political situation. He said the BJP will not succeed in toppling the government.
आम्ही बाळासाहेबांचे कट्टर शिवसैनिक आहोत... बाळासाहेबांनी आम्हाला हिंदुत्वाची शिकवण दिली आहे.. बाळासाहेबांचे विचार आणि धर्मवीर आनंद दिघे साहेबांची शिकवण यांच्याबाबत आम्ही सत्तेसाठी कधीही प्रतारणा केली नाही आणि करणार नाही— Eknath Shinde - एकनाथ शिंदे (@mieknathshinde) June 21, 2022
“It is true that some of the MLAs are not in Mumbai and some of them were not reachable since night. But contact has been established with a few MLAs who went out of the city due to a misunderstanding. Eknath Shinde is also out of the city and he has also been contacted,” Raut told reporters.
Maharashtra BJP clarifies
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said, “The BJP has nothing to do with the Shinde episode. However, if the BJP receives any proposal from Eknath Shinde to form a government, we would definitely consider it seriously. After all, we all have worked together in the past, hence it is much better to work and run a government with them.”
It's too early to say anything, we're currently waiting & keeping an eye on the situation. Nor Eknath Shinde has sent proposal to BJP for govt formation neither BJP has sent any proposal to him: Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil on Eknath Shinde & Shiv Sena MLAs pic.twitter.com/LfvYZGOelp— ANI (@ANI) June 21, 2022
NCP says Sena’s internal matter
MVA ally NCP supremo Sharad Pawar alleged that a third attempt is being made to pull down the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra. He expressed confidence that the chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will be able to handle the situation.
What will happen next?
Looking for an opportunity to exploit the political situation, the BJP may demand for a floor test in the Assembly. According to the BJP, the council poll results show that Sena and Congress have lost the trust of their own members and smaller allies and independents. At present, the Sena’s current strength in the state Assembly is 55 MLAs. If the rebels want to merge with BJP, 37 MLAs (two-thirds of 55) have to come together to ensure they do not face proceedings under the defection law.