New Delhi: Amid the intensifying political crisis in Maharashtra, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has left his official residence Varsha bungalow and left for his private residence Matoshree on Wednesday. Earlier, he got emotional on Facebook Live and said that he does not aspire for the post of CM and is ready to resign. By vacating the government residence, Uddhav is giving a signal to his supporters and MLAs that he does not aspire for the post of Chief Minister.
After the revolt of senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, the clouds of crisis are constantly hovering over the Maharashtra government. Questioning the government, Eknath wrote a letter that also has the signatures of 34 MLAs.
After this, Uddhav gave a message to the people of Maharashtra by doing Facebook Live. He had said that he is ready to resign if his MLAs do not want him to remain in the post. Uddhav had also said that he is ready to leave even the CM residence.
Meanwhile, NCP chief Sharad Pawar also met Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday and advised him to make rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde the Chief Minister, sources told ABP News.
Maharashtra Political Crisis: Key Developments
1. Senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde on Wednesday morning arrived in Guwahati from Surat and claimed that 40 MLAs from the party have reached Assam adding that they will carry Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva, reported news agency ANI. “A total of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs are present here. We will carry Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva,” Shinde said after arriving in Guwahati.
The MLAs were received by Assam BJP MLA Sushanata Borgohain in Assam adding to the speculation of Shinde joining the Bharatiya Janata Party along with other Shiv Sena MLAs, in a bid to topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi government — an alliance between the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress party.
“I came to receive them (Shiv Sena MLAs from Surat, Gujarat). I have not counted how many MLAs have arrived. I came here for personal relations. They have not disclosed any program,” Borgohain said, quoted by the news agency.
2. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that talks were underway with rebel party MLAs who are in support of Eknath Shinde adding that “ we might lose power but we’ll continue to fight,” reported news agency ANI. Speaking to reporters, Raut said, “Talks are underway with MLAs who are with Eknath Shinde, everybody will stay in Shiv Sena. Our party is a fighter, we’ll struggle consistently, most of we might lose power but we’ll continue to fight.”
Regarding senior party leader Eknath Shinde who turned against the party, Raut said, “Eknath Shinde is our very old party member, he is our friend, we’ve worked together for decades. It’s neither easy for him nor for us to leave each other. I had a conversation with him for an hour this morning & the party chief was intimated about it.”
3. Uddhav tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, confirmed Congress leader Kamal Nath, reported news agency ANI just hours after governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was reported to be infected by the virus. This comes at a time when Maharashtra politics and Uddhav Thackeray and his party are going through turmoil after Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde turned rebel taking with him 40 state MLAs on his side.
Shinde was expected to meet governor Koshiyari, following the political crisis, but did not meet after the former tested positive for coronavirus. He has been admitted to HN Reliance Foundation in Mumbai and is undergoing treatment.
4. One of the MLAs accompanying rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde in Surat reached Nagpur airport on Wednesday, claiming that he was “kidnapped”. Nitin Deshmukh, who represents the Balapur Assembly constituency in Maharashtra, said he was a shiv Sainik of Uddhav Thackeray and Balasaheb Thackeray.
“100-150 Policemen took me to a hospital & pretended as I have suffered an attack. They wanted to operate on me, harm me under that pretext. By God’s grace, I am alright. I am with Uddhav Thackeray,” Deshmukh told reporters after he managed to return from Surat to Nagpur on Wednesday evening.
The development came as Eknath shifted from Surat to BJP-ruled Assam and asserted that 40 MLAs from Maharashtra had accompanied him. The rebellion has put a question mark on the stability of the MVA dispensation in Maharashtra. On Tuesday, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had alleged that Nitin Deshmukh and some MLAs were kidnapped from Mumbai and taken to Gujarat.
5. Two suspected turncoat Shiv Sena MLAs recounted the tale of how they ‘escaped’ from the rebel’s camp, led by senior minister Eknath Shinde in a hotel in Gujarat’s Surat, and reached Maharashtra safely in the past 24 hours, news agency IANS reported. Sena MLAs Kailas Patil from Osmanabad and Nitin Deshmukh from Akola claimed that they were “misled and taken against their wishes” by the rebel group late on Monday.
Narrating his tale to the Sena bigwigs, Patil said that when the group of MLAs was heading for a purported party to Thane, he had a hunch something was amiss as the vehicle changed route and headed towards Gujarat from the Ghodbunder Road.
Patil said that under the pretext of relieving himself, he managed to get down at Talasari near Maharashtra-Gujarat border Police Check Post and taking advantage of the darkness, walked briskly for around 5km towards Mumbai and then managed to hitch a bike ride towards the state capital.
6. Shiv Sena issued a letter to party MLAs stating that those who will be absent from the cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening will be considered out of the party, news agency ANI reported. The meeting started at 5 pm in the evening, and the ultimatum to party MLAs was issued after rebel Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Eknath Shinde claimed to have the support of 46 MLAs. Moreover, back-to-back meetings were held by the three coalition partners Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena to end the crisis.
Shinde said Wednesday that Shiv Sena MLA Bharat Gogawale has been appointed as the Chief Representative of the party Legislature.
He said that the reason is that the orders issued by Sunil Prabhu regarding the cabinet meeting on Wednesday are “legally invalid”.
7. Putting an end to the speculations of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra being on a brink of a collapse, Uddhav on Wednesday broke his silence and denied claims of his resignation. While addressing people during a Facebook Live session, CM Thackeray said that he is ready to resign as Maharashtra Chief Minister even if one of the rebel MLAs of the party wants him to do so.
“I will quit as chief minister and leave official residence if even one of the disgruntled MLAs says he doesn’t want me as CM,” Thackeray said.
“If you (MLAs) say, then I am ready to leave the CM post. It’s not about numbers but how many are against me. I will leave if even one person or MLA is against me. It’s very shameful for me if even a single MLA is against me,” he added. However, the Chief Minister asserted that he will not bow down to trolls on social media who have been demanding his resignation.
Further in his address, Thackeray also said that some people say that it’s not Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena. “They should tell what were the thoughts of Bala Saheb. This is the same Shiv Sena that it was at his time ‘Hindutva’ is our life,” he said.
8. NCP president Sharad Pawar met Uddhav and advised him to make rebel leader Eknath Shinde the Chief Minister, sources told ABP News. Pawar was accompanied by his daughter and NCP MP Supriya Sule and party minister Jitendra Awhad and the meeting lasted for around an hour.
The meeting took place minutes after Thackeray addressed the public through Facebook Live and offered to quit as Maharashtra Chief Minister. Extending an olive branch to rebel Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath ShindeThackeray said he would be happy if a Shiv Sainik succeeded him as CM.