Troubles for Uddhav and MVA increased, 42 MLAs supporting Shinde appeared in one frame

Vibha Sharma

New Delhi, 23 June

Difficulties continue to mount for Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, as the rebels are releasing photos and videos of 42 MLAs, five more than the required 37, supporting Eknath Shinde, in a frame in Guwahati.

Eknath Shinde and other rebel Shiv Sena MLAs at a hotel in Guwahati on Thursday. PTI photo

The MLAs can be seen raising slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and supporting Shinde, who is believed to be preparing to stake claim on the Shiv Sena’s election symbol.

Earlier, Shinde had tweeted a letter from Aurangabad MLA Sanjay Shirsat highlighting the grievances of MLAs angry with the MVA (NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress) alliance. A day earlier, Thackeray had said that he was ready to step down if the MLAs wanted him.

In the letter, Shirsat has said that Thackeray’s inner circle prevented Shiv Sainiks from meeting him. Without naming the members of the congregation, the Aurangabad MLA also blamed those elected to the Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha for lack of communication and connectivity.

Earlier, Bharat Gogawale, who was appointed chief whip by the insurgents on Wednesday, said 42 Shiv Sena MLAs supporting Eknath Shinde and more would join.

On whether the rebels will form a separate party or go with the BJP, he said, “We are with Eknath Shinde. Let’s see what happens.”

Asked if Shinde would be the next chief minister, Gogavale said, “Who doesn’t want to be the chief minister. He is the first choice.”

Sources said that after Uddhav Thackeray turned down Shinde’s offer to go with the BJP, the rebels “have no faith in the Shiv Sena leadership backed by the crutches of the NCP and Congress”.

Meanwhile, around 17 Shiv Sena MLAs who supported Thackeray attended a meeting at Varsha, the CM’s official residence in Mumbai.

Shinde, emerging as a leader of the rebel camp, on Wednesday termed the MVA alliance as unnatural and said only the NCP and Congress benefited from the alliance.

“In the last two-and-a-half years, the MVA government has benefited only the constituents (NCP and Congress),” he said.

Shinde said that while the constituents have strengthened, the Shiv Sainiks and the Sena have weakened.