In the midst of a growing crisis for Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, several municipal councilors and party functionaries have decided to support rebel leader and state minister Eknath Shinde.
So far, around 38 MLAs have pledged their support to Shinde, while the rebel camp on Thursday passed a resolution to declare him as the leader of the Shiv Sena. The rebel camp has already exceeded the numbers needed to split the party without violating the anti-defection law.
After the MLAs switched to the rebel camp, 60 corporators from Thane district have agreed to support Shinde. Sources said the city’s mayor has also shown support for him.
The overwhelming support for Shinde from MLAs and now party functionaries has made it difficult for Uddhav to save his party.
37 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs on Thursday signed a proposal to appoint Eknath Shinde as the party’s legislative leader. With this letter, Shinde proves his majority and evades the anti-defection law. The letter has been marked to the Governor, Deputy Speaker and Assembly Secretary of Maharashtra.
The biggest challenge before Uddhav Thackeray is to retain the councilors and other office bearers to save the party’s election symbol.
In the midst of the ongoing political crisis, Shiv Sena has called a meeting of party’s district presidents under the chairmanship of CM Uddhav Thackeray at Shiv Sena Bhavan in Mumbai at 12 noon on Friday.
A meeting was also held yesterday at Uddhav Thackeray’s residence Matoshree, where the Mumbai unit met Thackeray to discuss the plan to save the party.
The Shiv Sena had also filed a petition before the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly seeking disqualification of 12 rebel MLAs for not attending the party meeting.
Shinde, however, said the move by Thackeray’s team to file disqualification notices against the rebel MLAs was “illegal”.
“What was done yesterday is illegal, they have no right. We are a majority people and numbers are important in a democracy. It’s illegal, even they can’t do this kind of suspension. We will not be afraid of it,” he said.