Maharashtra political crisis deepens, rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde claims support of 40MLA; Chief Minister Uddhav Thakre offers to step down

Political crisis has deepened in Maharashtra. Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra is facing its worst crisis since coming into power in 2019. Senior Shiv Sena leader and state cabinet minister Eknath Shinde has rebelled against Uddhav Thackeray leadership. Mr Shinde has claimed the support of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs out of a total of 55 and took some of them to BJP-ruled Gujarat. They were shifted to Guwahati in Assam from Surat this morning. To circumvent the anti-defection law, Mr Shinde will need two-thirds of the 55 Shiv Sena MLAs which comes to 37, on his side.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MLAs, who are supporting Mr Thackeray, have been shifted to a hotel in Lower Parel near Mumbai to protect them from poaching.

AIR correspondent reports that Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra is in deep trouble as more than 37 MLAs are seen accompanying Rebel Shiv Sena Minister Eknath Shinde. While speaking to reporters in Guwahati, Mr. Shinde has claimed that he has come to the Capital of Assam with 40 MLAs and 10 more would be soon joining him.

Saying that he will not leave Shiv Sena, Shinde added that he believes on the agenda of Hindutva which was laid by late Shiv Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray. Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, a close confidante of Shinde said that the MLAs want Shiv Sena- BJP alliance in Maharashtra. There are reports that Eknath Shinde spoke to Uddhav Thackeray over phone from Surat yesterday and laid his conditions about the alliance in Maharashra. However nothing official has come from the Shiv Sena which has lot at stake from the point of view of state politics; the biggest being losing the coalition Government which it has forged with the NCP and Congress.

Amid the deepening political crisis in Maharashtra, the most crucial State Cabinet meeting is taking place in Mumbai. Although there are reports that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has tested COVID positive after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and he is expected to address the Cabinet virtually. Although, there was no confirmation about his health from CMO’s office when the last reports came in. On the other hand, a series of meetings took place in Mumbai and the suspense about the stability of the MVA Government in the state is still continuing.
A report

NCP Chief Sharad Pawar chaired a high level meeting of senior NCP leaders at Y. B. Chavan Centre in Mumbai. On the other hand, senior BJP leaders including Devendra Fadnavis, Pravin Darekar and Ashish Shelar have gathered at the residence of Devendra Fadnavis and discussing the future course of action for past one hour. Senior Congrss leader Kamal Nath today chaired a meeting of Congress MLAs and expressed confidence about the unity of all the Congress MLAs. He also discussed the issue with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on phone and said that he could not meet him personally as Thackeray was tested positive. Another Congress Leader Nana Patole also confirmed that Chief Minister is COVID positive but he refuted the speculations about the dissolution of the government. Shivsena MP Sanjay Raut had given indication about the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly in a tweet. The whole political scenario is still unclear and it is expected that there will be important announcement after the Cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, rebel Shivsena leader Eknath Shinde from Maharashtra held a meeting with his fellow legislators in Guwahati in Assam this morning. It is learnt that 40 Shivsena MLAs are camping in Guwahati amidst tight security. Two more Sena MLAs are likely to reach Guwahati. Three to four BJP leaders from Assam are believed to be in touch with the Shivsena legislators. However, no BJP or Shivsena leader has made any comment on this development. BJP MLA Sushanta Borgohain, who went to airport to receive the Shivsena legislators, said that he went to meet his few fellow MLAs at personal level.

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