How Eknath Shinde, Thackeray Family Loyalist, Engineered Downfall Of Shiv Sena

Maharashtra Political Crisis: The Eknath Shinde faction wanted Uddhav Thackeray to leave the 'unholy' MVA alliance, which consists Sharad Pawar's NCP and Congress, and join the BJP-led NDA again.

How Eknath Shinde, Thackeray Family Loyalist, Engineered Downfall Of Shiv Sena
Eknath Shinde/ ANI Image

Uddhav Thackeray, the youngest son of Balsaheb Thackeray, resigned as the Maharashtra Chief Minister on Wednesday night after the Supreme Court gave a setback to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government while refusing to stay the Governor's order for a floor test in the state legislative assembly.

"I don't want to play these games. If those people who were brought up by Sena chief (Balasaheb Thackeray) want to rejoice the fact that they pulled his son down then it is my mistake that I put my faith in them. I don't want the blood of my Shiv Sainiks to spill on the streets and so I am stepping down from the CM's post as well as that of an MLC," Thackeray, 62, said in a televised address.

Uddhav's resignation is expected to end the political impasse in Maharashtra that had begun with Eknath Shinde's revolt earlier this month.

WHY EKNATH SHINDE REBELLED AGAINST UDDHAV THACKERAY?

After the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) election results were declared, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won five out of 10 seats, Shinde went incommunicado. Initially, there were only 10 to 12 MLAs in the Shinde camp, but the strength gradually increased to 50 after several Sena and independent legislators joined him.

The Shinde faction initially had moved to Gujarat, a BJP ruled state. They later moved to Assam, another BJP ruled state.

The Shinde faction wanted Uddhav to leave the 'unholy' MVA alliance, which consists Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, and join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) again. Shinde alleged that the NCP and Congress want to "finish off" the Sena, asking how Uddhav has allied with people who arrested Balasaheb Thackeray.

This demand, however, was clearly rejected by Uddhav, who accused the saffron party of not fulfilling its promise. The 62-year-old further alleged that the BJP has defamed the Thackeray family and countered Shinde, saying the saffron party wants to "finish off" the Sena instead of the NCP and Congress.

Thackeray also slammed Shinde for his revolt and has vowed to build the Sena. "Let the rebels who grew politically because of Shiv Sena and Balasaheb Thackeray get joy and satisfaction of pulling down his son from the post of chief minister. I don't want to get into the numbers' game. It would be shameful for me to see if even one of my own party colleagues stands against me," he said on Wednesday.

NOT THE FIRST REVOLT IN SHIV SENA...

The Sena had faced its first revolt in 1991 after Chhagan Bhujal quit party and joined Congress. Bhujal was disappointed by the party top brass after Manohar Joshi was appointed as the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Maharashtra assembly following the 1989 assembly elections in the state.

Not just Bhujal, 18 other Sena MLAs joined Congress, giving a massive setback to the party. Bhujal was Sena's OBC face and his revolt was revolt caused ripples in Sena, which is also felt today.

The Next rebel Sena saw was between 2003-05 after the party got its new heir - Uddhav Thackeray. Uddhav, a soft-spoken leader, became his father's successor, pipping his cousin Raj Thackeray. A disappointed Raj left the Sena later and formed the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

It was widely believed that Raj and Uddhav might join hands again in 2012 after Balasaheb Thackeray's death, but that didn't happen and the two continued their journey on separate paths.

Years later, Shiv Sena faced another revolt after Narayan Rane, a stalwart from Balasaheb Thackeray's army, left the party and joined Congress in 2017. Rane was upset with the party tickets given to certain leaders and openely challenged Uddhav's leadership.

However, Rane's journey with Congress didn't last long and he joined the BJP in 2018. Later, he was appointed to the Rajya Sabha and he ultimately became a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet.

WHAT's NEXT IN STORE FOR UDDHAV SENA?

Shinde's revolt has not left too many options open for Uddhav and his supporters. With majority of Sena MLAs siding with him, Shinde can claim a stake on the Shiv Sena. That, however, would be decided by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Uddhav, meanwhile, has vowed to rebuild Shiv Sena with support from the NCP and Congress, saying he wouldn't join the BJP-led NDA again. "I thank Shiv Sainiks for standing by me. Those who grew politically because of Shiv Sena were disgruntled, while those who did not get anything were loyal," he has said.

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