At least 20 MLAs camping with rebel leader Eknath Shinde are reportedly in touch with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, sources have told NDTV. NDTV has also learnt that some of the rebels are against with the group merging with the BJP.
A meeting was called at the residence of Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar this morning. The meeting was attended by Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavhan and Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai. Meanwhile, in Guwahati, Mr Shinde has called a meeting of MLAs camping with him to discuss the strategy ahead.
This morning, Sena’s spokesperson Sanjay Raut took a swipe at the rebels, camping in BJP-ruled Assam. “How long will you hide in Guwahati,” he asked in his tweet which included image of Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, who has served notices to 16 rebel MLAs on the Sena disqualification plea.
Eknath Shinde flew to Vadodara on a special flight last night from Assam’s Guwahati where he is camping with nearly 40 rebel MLAs. Home Minister Amit Shah was also in Vadodara last night, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
After talks with Mr Fadnavis, Mr Shinde returned to the main city in BJP-ruled Assam. Mr Shinde and the rebels want to ally with their former partner, BJP, which they claim is a “natural ally” of the Sena. “We are traditionally the rivals of NCP and Congress, they are our primary challengers in constituencies. We requested CM Uddhav Thackeray that natural alliance should be done,” said rebel MLA Chimanrao Patil in a video tweeted by Eknath Shinde.
The rebels have said that they are still with the Shiv Sena and claim that they have a two-thirds majority. Rebel MLA Deepak Kesarkar further demanded recognition of their group ‘Shiv Sena Balasaheb’ and warned of going to court if it is not done and denied the role of the BJP behind their revolt.
Despite being reduced to a minority, Team Thackeray has maintained that it will win in the event of a trust vote. “You already know what was discussed in the meeting, the important thing is that we will not forget the betrayal done by rebel Shiv Sena MLAs. We (Shiv Sena) will win for sure,” Aaditya Thackeray after a party meeting in Mumbai.
The Shiv Sena passed six resolutions at the National Executive meeting chaired by Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday. At the meeting at Sena Bhavan, Mr Thackeray was authorised to take action against the rebels. His side has also challenged a move by the rebels to call themselves “Shiv Sena Balasaheb Thackeray” in a letter to the Election Commission.
The ongoing battle for the control of the Shiv Sena between Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde played out on the streets of Maharashtra on Saturday with the cadres loyal to the Thackerays staging protests against the rebels by defacing their banners, throwing stones, and vandalising the office of an MLA in various parts of the state.
The Mumbai police has deployed its personnel at the city-based offices of various political parties and leaders, including ministers, MLAs and MPs, and their residences as a security measure, an official said on Saturday.
The prohibitory orders issued by the Mumbai police in the first week of June will continue to remain in place till July 10. It bans the assembly of five or more persons at one place.