Amid the ongoing political developments in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena on Tuesday sacked Eknath Shinde as the party’s chief whip after he reportedly moved to a Surat hotel in Gujarat, along with 21 other MLAs.
Ajay Chaudhary, Shiv Sena MLA from Sewri, has replaced Eknath Shinde as the new Legislative Party Leader, party sources have said.
Around the same time, Eknath Shinde tweeted that he would never cheat for power.
“Balasaheb has taught us Hindutva. We have never and will never cheat for power regarding Balasaheb’s thoughts and Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb’s teachings,” he said in the tweet.
Nearly an hour after his tweet, he dropped Shiv Sena off his Twitter bio.
The crisis unfolded in the state a day after the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance – comprising the Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress – suffered a setback in the Maharashtra Legislative Council polls.
In the polls, the BJP managed to win all the five seats it had contested. The Sena and NCP won two seats each, while Congress suffered a jolt as one of its two nominees lost.
Mr Shinde is reportedly unhappy with the Sena leadership. The MLAs arrived in Surat on Monday night and are camping at the Le Meridian Hotel, sources said.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut this morning said there is a conspiracy to topple the Uddhav Thackeray government in the “same pattern as in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan”. “Shiv Sena is a party of loyalists. We won’t let that happen,” he said.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, however, has ruled out any link of his party to the developments but also said the BJP would “definitely consider” a proposal if it comes from Mr Shinde.
Leaders of NCP and Congress have asserted that there is no threat to the stability of the state government.
“We are fully confident that Uddhav Thackeray will resolve this,” NCP chief Sharad Pawar said, stressing that he considered the crisis an “internal matter of the Shiv Sena”, nothing to do with the other coalition partners, at this point.
Mr Pawar, who is in Delhi for the opposition meeting on Presidential elections, is likely to meet with Uddhav Thackeray this evening in Mumbai.