Rebel minister Eknath Shinde of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has been camping in a five-star hotel in Guwahati for the past few days. His faction needs the support of 37 MLAs of the Shiv Sena (two-thirds of the total 55 party MLAs) to escape the anti-defection law under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
He claims to have the support of 40 MLAs of the Shiv Sena and some independents. Along with 106 of the BJP, the more than 50 MLAs with Shinde are enough to cross the majority mark of 144 in the 288-member assembly, which at present has 287 MLAs.
Shinde and his supporting Shiv Sena MLAs first went to Surat in Gujarat and from there they shifted to the Assam capital. Both the states are governed by the BJP.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who seems to be on the defensive, initially offered to resign. He also vacated ‘Varsha’, the official CM residence.
However, he seems to have changed his mind and decided to fight to the finish on the floor of the House instead of quitting.
With Thackeray and Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut having hardened their stance vis-a-vis Shinde, the focus has now shifted to threats and counter-threats by different leaders who have a stake in the state government.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar
On June 23, Pawar held a press conference and sought to convince the rebels to return to Maharashtra from Assam.
He said, “Shiv Sena MLAs will have to come to the state. I do not think that the leaders of Assam and Gujarat will come here and guide them in the assembly premises. Also, the decision taken by the MLAs who went there is against the anti-defection law. So they will have to bear the consequences of it as well.”
शिवसेना आमदारांना राज्यात तर यावे लागेल. विधानसभेच्या प्रांगणात आल्यानंतर मला वाटत नाही की त्यांना आसाम आणि गुजरात… https://t.co/0NYttJuhBU
— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) 1655999397000
Pawar further said, “Apart from that, there would be reactions from their constituencies as well. That is why they are making excuses that they are not getting funds for spending on the welfare of the people of their constituencies. When Chhagan Bhujbal left Shiv Sena and joined Congress, he was accompanied by 12 to 16 people.”
त्याशिवाय त्यांच्या मतदारसंघात देखील याची प्रतिक्रिया उमटेल. त्यामुळेच आपल्या मतदारसंघातील लोकांना काहीतरी सांगावे,… https://t.co/ifFRjSd9wS
— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) 1655999417000
Union minister Narayan Rane
Union micro, small and medium enterprises minister Narayan Rane took exception to Pawar’s statements and said he was threatening the rebels. “Honourable Sharad Pawar saheb is threatening all of them by saying, ‘come and show it in the hall’. They are coming. They will come and vote as they please. Touching even their hair will make it harder for you to reach home,” he wrote on Twitter.
माननीय शरद पवार साहेब या सर्वांना धमक्या देत आहेत, ‘सभागृहात येऊन दाखवा’, ते येणारच आहेत. ते येणार आणि त्यांच्या म… https://t.co/Am2LsL1Z4j
— Narayan Rane (@MeNarayanRane) 1655999468000
Rane, who originally was a Shiv Sainik but later shifted to Congress and then to the BJP, said it was not proper to threaten people.
In a tweet, he said, “The MVA government is designed for convenience and self-interest. Therefore, do not boast of work. Some have rebelled several times. The whole of Maharashtra knows the history of that rebellion. It is not appropriate to threaten people at any time.”
आघाडी सरकार हे सोयीसाठी व स्वार्थासाठी तयार झालेले सरकार आहे, त्यामुळे कामाच्या व कार्याच्या बढाया मारू नयेत. काहीज… https://t.co/VJvgsEZaZM
— Narayan Rane (@MeNarayanRane) 1656000000000
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut
Raut objected to Rane’s remarks. He said, “A central minister of the BJP has said that if attempts are made to save the MVA government, then Sharad Pawar will not be allowed to go home. Whether or not the MVA government survives, use of such language for Sharad Pawar is not acceptable.”
महाविकास आघाडीचे सरकार वाचवण्याचा प्रयत्न केला तर शरद पवार यांना घरी जाऊ देणार नाही .रस्त्यात अडवू.अशी धमकी भाजपचा… https://t.co/KrH90TgSG8
— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) 1656042128000
In an open threat to the Shinde faction, Raut allegedly warned of Shiv Sainiks fighting it out on the streets.
He said, “The Eknath Shinde faction which is challenging us must realise that the Shiv Sena workers are yet to come on the roads. Such battles are fought either through law or on the streets. If need be, our workers would come on the roads.”
Maharashtra | Eknath Shinde faction that’s challenging us must realise that Shiv Sena workers are yet to come on th… https://t.co/h0acgtlx7w
— ANI (@ANI) 1656045383000
According to reports, Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey met the CM and held talks to augment security in the Shiv Sena office and Matoshree, Thackeray’s residence.