Let’s Talk: Uddhav Thackeray – Eknath Shinde, the leader of the surprise rebellion against party boss Uddhav Thackeray, claims to have 50 MLAs with him in Guwahati.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today wrote a letter to the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs urging them to speak to them in person, soon after rebel Eknath Shinde said he would go to Mumbai and talk to the Maharashtra Governor.
“You are stuck in Guwahati for a few days, I keep getting updates on you. Many of you are in touch with us… and you are Shiv Sena people at heart. Let’s talk, we will find a way out,” Uddhav Thackeray has said in a letter to the rebels staying in a luxury hotel in Guwahati since last week.
“I want to appeal to you – the time is still not gone. Please come, sit with me, clear all doubts from the minds of Shiv Sainiks and public, then we can find some way out. We can sit together and unite can find a way out.” The letter comes a day after the rebels were given time till July 12 to act without disqualification.
Mr Thackeray, who has been reduced to a minority in the party founded by his father Bal Thackeray, asked the rebels not to fall into any false narrative on the Shiv Sena neglecting its MLAs and its core ideology. “You will not get the respect that Shiv Sena has given you anywhere else. If you come, talk face-to-face, we can find a way out. As Shiv Sena chief and head of family, I am still worried. About you. Please come forward and speak, we will find a way,” he pleaded.
Eknath Shinde, the leader of the surprise revolt against party boss Uddhav Thackeray, claims to be the real Shiv Sena with at least 40 Shiv Sena MLAs accompanying him. Mr Thackeray’s letter surfaced soon after Mr Shinde said he would go to Mumbai and speak to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, indicating that he is ready to launch his next play – a bid for power. “There are 50 people with me in Guwahati, they have come of their own accord and for Hindutva. We will all go to Mumbai soon,” Shinde told reporters.
Mr Shinde, reports suggest, may fly to Mumbai or Delhi for consultation with the BJP, which is seen as a supporter of the rebellion, which saw Uddhav Thackeray losing most of his party’s MLAs to the rival camp have seen.
Sources say that BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, former Maharashtra Chief Minister, is in Delhi. Mr Shinde was flown by a chartered plane from Guwahati to Vadodara in Gujarat after midnight last Friday for a meeting with Fadnavis and top BJP strategist, Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
“I am not leaving the Shiv Sena. I am the real Shiv Sena,” Mr Shinde told reporters, dismissing Team Thackeray’s claims that some 15-20 MLAs were in touch with him and wanted to return to Mumbai.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court gave time till July 12 to respond to the disqualification notices of Mr. Shinde and 15 rebels. Until then the rebels cannot be disqualified. Sources suggest that Mr. Shinde and the rebels may be willing to move a no-confidence motion in the Maharashtra Assembly before the court deadline.
The Supreme Court refused to pass an order on Team Thackeray’s request that no floor test should be allowed till July 12. “If anything illegal happens, you can always approach this court,” it said. Sources say that Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari may ask Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority this week.
BJP leaders reportedly met at Devendra Fadnavis’ house in Mumbai to discuss the arithmetic needed to form a government in alliance with the Shinde Sena faction. Party leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said, “We are open to the proposal of Eknath Shinde to form the government.”