Maharashtra Crisis Deepens As Uddhav Thackeray's Phone Call Fails To Move Rebel Eknath Shinde

Maharashtra's ruling alliance on Tuesday battled its worst crisis since coming into existence in 2019 after senior Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde rebelled against the party and herded some MLAs to BJP-ruled Gujarat.

By Talibuddin Khan
Tue, 21 Jun 2022 11:01 PM IST
Minute Read
Maharashtra Crisis Deepens As Uddhav Thackeray's Phone Call Fails To Move Rebel Eknath Shinde
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde in Maharashtra Assembly. (ANI Photo)

Mumbai | Jagran News Desk: Rattled by his Minister Eknath Shinde's sudden rebellion, which fueled the possible toppling of the MVA government in Maharashtra, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday spoke to the rebel minister -- Eknath Shinde -- and asked him to return to the Shiv Sena fold. Shinde, who is camping at a hotel in BJP-ruled Gujarat's Surat, has, however, reportedly declined the offer and even had some tough questions for Thackeray.

Soon after the political crisis evolved in Maharashtra after Shinde had gone incommunicado, Uddhav Thackeray sent two emissaries to Surat, where Shinde along with 21 MLAs of Shiv Sena is camping. The two deputed leaders, Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak reached Surat today evening and were successful in establishing contact between Thackeray and Shinde.

However, sources, as quoted by news agency IANS, said that Shinde remained unmoved and posed some tough questions to Uddhav Thackeray. Narvekar and Phatak left for Mumbai after over one-and-a-half-hour closed-door meeting with Shinde. "Eknath Shinde had a telephonic conversation with Uddhav Thackeray," Navrekar said before leaving for Mumbai.

Shinde, reportedly, asked the emissaries, "Even when I am still an MLA and a minister in the cabinet, how can the Chief Minister remove me as legislative party leader?". Sources said that he also conveyed to Thackeray that he should mind his business and Eknath will mind his own. Shinde confidently conveyed that he has numbers with him and does not need to worry about others.

Maharashtra's ruling alliance on Tuesday battled its worst crisis since coming into existence in 2019 after senior Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde rebelled against the party and herded some MLAs to BJP-ruled Gujarat, putting a huge question mark on the stability of the two-and-a-half-year-old Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

The Shiv Sena, which heads the MVA, has 55 MLAs, followed by allies NCP (53) and the Congress (44) in the 288-member assembly where the current simple majority mark is 144. There is one vacancy due to the death of a Sena MLA last month. The current strength of the Assembly is 287. Fifteen independent legislators and MLAs from smaller parties support the MVA government, taking the number to 167.

The BJP has 106 MLAs of its own and is backed by one lawmaker each from the Raj Thackeray-led MNS, the Swabhimani Paksh, the Rashtriya Samaj Paksh, the Jan Surajya Party and six independents, taking its tally with allies to 116.

The jolt from Shinde, known to be a very accessible leader with a strong grip on the organisation, especially in Thane, Palghar and Gadchiroli districts, left the party scrambling. All through the day, party managers engaged in establishing communication with the rebel leader, who went incommunicado on Tuesday morning and later surfaced in a luxury Surat hotel, but nothing concrete seems to have come out so far.

The Shiv Sena, the Congress and the NCP, all MVA partners, have blamed the BJP for the current crisis. However, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil ruled out any link of his party to the ongoing political turmoil but added the opposition outfit would "definitely consider" a proposal if it comes from the rebel leader to form an alternative government.


(With Agencies Inputs)

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