MUMBAI: Immediately after two poll setbacks, the MVA government in Maharashtra plunged into a political crisis on Tuesday with a major revolt in Shiv Sena led by urban development minister Eknath Shinde, a powerful grassroots leader who has long felt sidelined. This is seen as one of the biggest rebellions in the history of the 56-year-old party and the first that CM Uddhav Thackeray is facing after the death of his father and party founder Bal Thackeray.
If the revolt succeeds, the government faces the threat of being reduced to a minority. However, MVA leaders claimed there is no threat to the government. Shinde has demanded that the Sena exit the Maha Vikas Aghadi and join hands with BJP for the cause of Hindutva. “I am not interested in a cabinet berth. Neither am I interested in taking over the reins of Shiv Sena. I am interested in saving the Shiv Sena, I request you to snap ties with Congress and NCP and join hands with BJP,” Shinde reportedly told CM Uddhav Thackeray.
Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs. In order to split the party and avoid the anti-defection law, Shinde will need the support
of two-thirds of the party or as many as 37 MLAs.
By the night, the rebel Sena MLAs were being shifted to Guwahati. There was also widespread speculation that the BJP was planning to shift its 106 MLAs from Maharashtra to a safe place in Gujarat to prevent poaching by the MVA parties.
MVA leaders said the government was stable. “I spoke to Shinde. Most of the legislators with him are in touch with Sena and will return to the Sena fold,” CM Thackeray told a group of cabinet members, including Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavan and Chhagan Bhujbal.





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