Eknath Shinde, the Shiv Sena rebel who has triggered the political crisis in Maharashtra, today underlined that it is vital to get out of the “unnatural alliance” of Sharad Pawar’s party and the Congress for the party’s survival.
The statement comes shortly after the alliance partners in the Maha Vikas Aghadi, say sources, suggested that the rebel leader be named the Chief Minister.
“In the last 2.5 years, Shiv Sena has only suffered and other parties have benefited. Where other parties have got stronger, the Sena has only weakened.
“To save the party and the Shiv Sainiks, it is vital that the unnatural alliance be junked. It is important to make this decision in the interest of Maharashtra,” Mr Shinde, who is now camping with other rebels in the BJP-ruled Assam, tweeted on Day 2 of the Maharashtra potboiler.
Mr Shinde is insistent that the Sena restore its alliance with the BJP and rule the state.
“Some are saying that we should go with BJP. But how do we do that. We were with them and have suffered. Why should we go with them,” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reportedly told party leaders at an emergency meeting yesterday, adding that talks with the rebel leader were on.
Today, in an emotional address, Uddhav Thackeray said he is “ready to quit” anytime but stopped short of announcing his resignation as Chief Minister.
“Come to me and tell me to resign, to my face, and I’ll quit as Chief Minister. The Chief Minister’s position came to me accidentally – it’s not something I yearn,” Mr Thackeray said.
“Despite (NCP leader Sharad) Pawar Saheb’s and (Congress leader) Kamal Nath’s support, if my own people don’t want me to be Chief Minister then what should I do? I don’t know if I can call them my people because they don’t see me as theirs,” he said.
Eknath Shinde needs seven more Sena MLAs on his side to split the party without risking disqualification under the anti-defection law.
Mr Thackeray said he was “getting calls from MLAs who have gone with Eknath Shinde claiming that they were kidnapped”.