Game over for Uddhav Thackeray? Emergency meeting called as more MLAs join Shinde
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has convened an emergency meeting as more MLAs switched to the rebel side led by Eknath Shinde in Guwahati.
With new MLAs joining Eknath Shinde, he has 42 MLAs now, according to media reports. This means he is placed comfortably to split Shiv Sena without being impacted by the anti-defection law, which requires him to have the support of at least 37 MLAs.
Two more MLAs, one of them Uddhav Thackeray's emissary in Surat, will reach Guwahati today, where Eknath Shinde is camping with other rebel MLAs, reported NDTV.
Earlier today, Sharad Pawar's NCP and Congress, the alliance partners of Uddhav Thackeray in the ruling MVA coalition, held internal meetings on the current political crisis.
Both Congress and NCP said they would continue to support Uddhav Thackeray.
Yesterday, the two allies also proposed to make Eknath Shinde the new chief minister of Maharashtra to prevent the fall of their Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Meanwhile, today Sena's chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut in an ultimatum to the rebel MLAs said the party would consider quitting the ruling alliance if they returned from Guwahati in 24 hours.
Only 13 Shiv Sena MLAs attended a meeting called by Uddhav Thackrey on Thursday, according to media reports. Later, reports added that over a dozen MPs have also sided with the Shinde camp.
While Raut tried to assert that the mass crossover was owing to some kind of pressure, the rebels highlighted the built-up of dissatisfaction over the course of the last 2.5 years as the reason for their revolt.
They maintained that they were not leaving the party. Deepak Kesakar, who is among the three MLAs who joined the rebel camp this morning, asserted that Shiv Sena should form a new government in an alliance with the BJP, which is its natural ally.
In a letter tweeted by Shinde on Thursday, a legislator accused the Maharashtra Chief Minister of shutting his doors to them and keeping them waiting for hours.
One of the MLAs said the Shiv Sena MLAs and workers were denied entry into the Chief Minister's house for 2.5 years.
Eknath Shinde said the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition has been beneficial only to Congress and NCP while the ordinary Shiv Sainiks have suffered the most in the last two-and-a-half years of the coalition's rule.