New Delhi: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on June 22 said that he is ready to quit as CM if that is what the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs want.
“I am preparing my resignation letter. Whoever has rebelled should come here, take this letter and submit it to the Governor,” Thackeray said during an address to the media.
“I am surprised and shocked because if the Congress and NCP said that Uddhav shouldn’t be the CM, then it would be different. But today, Kamal Nath also said I should be the CM. If my people are saying that I shouldn’t be the CM, then what’s the use? Come and tell it to my face that we don’t want you to remain CM. I will go back to Matoshree (Uddhav’s family residence) today,” Thackeray added.
According to sources, the rebel MLAs have signed papers pledging support to Eknath Shinde. The MLAs have claimed that they do not have an issue with the Sena leadership but they do not want to ally with the NCP and Congress.
“There has been a compromise on the principles of Shiv Sena by aligning with the contrasting ideologies for the sake of achieving power,” read the resolution passed by rebel MLAs.
Reacting to this ‘ideological compromise’, Uddhav Thackeray said, “Shiv Sena and Hindutva are two sides of the same coin. Aaditya Thackeray, Eknath Shinde, and some of our leaders recently visited Ayodhya. Some allege that this is no longer Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena. We are carrying the same thoughts as Balasaheb. We are taking the same ideas forward.”
The total strength of the Maharashtra Assembly is 287 and the majority, in the event of a trust vote, is 144. The ruling coalition of Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress has 169 seats. If the MLAs led by Shinde do resign, then the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) strength will fall below the majority mark, leading to a possible collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led government.
Since the ‘rebellion’, Shinde has been removed from the post of legislative party leader. Shiv Sena has alleged that the BJP is behind attempts to topple the government in the state.
Who is Eknath Shinde?
Eknath Sambhaji Shinde is a Maharashtra State Government cabinet minister and current MLA from Kopri-Pachpakhadi (Vidhan Sabha constituency) of Maharashtra, as a member of Shiv Sena.
He has been elected consecutively for 4 terms in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019.
In 1980, he was influenced by Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray and joined the party, working as a Sainik. During that time, he participated in many agitations, such as the Maharashtra – Karnataka Agitation over the status of Belgauvi, after which he was imprisoned for 40 days.
Once an auto-rickshaw driver in Thane city adjoining Mumbai, Shinde (58) quickly emerged as a key Sena leader in the Thane-Palghar region after joining politics and is known for his aggressive approach toward issues of public interest.