Mumbai: The Shiv Sena is open to consider quitting Maharashtra’s ruling MVA alliance if the rebel MLAs camping in Assam return to Mumbai within 24 hours and discuss their grievances with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, party MP Sanjay Raut said on Thursday, indicating a big shift in stand that surprised ally Congress, while the NCP […]
Mumbai: The Shiv Sena is open to consider quitting Maharashtra’s ruling MVA alliance if the rebel MLAs camping in Assam return to Mumbai within 24 hours and discuss their grievances with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, party MP Sanjay Raut said on Thursday, indicating a big shift in stand that surprised ally Congress, while the NCP said it wants the coalition government to complete its term.
Reaching out to rebel MLAs, Raut, who is the Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson, said the party’s “doors are open” to them, and all issues raised by them can be resolved through talks. As political crisis in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, triggered by Shiv Sena cabinet minister Eknath Shinde’s revolt three days ago, raged three more MLAs of the party left for Guwahati in the BJP-ruled Assam to join the rebel camp.
A day after Thackeray made an emotional appeal to rebel MLAs of his party and offered to resign in a bid to placate them, his trusted aide Raut indicated the Shiv Sena is ready to consider leaving the MVA headed by it, a demand put forward by Shinde who has dubbed the three-party bloc as an “unnatural” alliance. Shinde is currently camping with 37 rebel MLAs of the Sena and nine independents in Guwahati. The NCP and Congress also share power in the Uddhav Thackeray-led dispensation.
“You say you are real Shiv Sainiks and will not quit the party. We are ready to consider your demand provided you come back to Mumbai within 24 hours and discuss the issue with CM Uddhav Thackeray. Your demand will be considered positively. Don’t write letters on Twitter and WhatsApp,” Raut, who is the party’s chief spokesperson, told reporters here. “The rebels who are out of Mumbai have raised the issue of Hindutva. If all these MLAs feel that Shiv Sena should walk out of the MVA, show guts to come back to Mumbai. You say you have issues only with the government and also say that you are true Shiv Sainiks…Your demand will be considered. But come and talk with Uddhav Thackeray,” he added.
Reacting to Raut’s comments on his party considering quitting the MVA, Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said he did not think Chief Minister Thackeray, who also heads the Shiv Sena, would do an “about-turn” and agree to the rebel MLAs’ demand that the party pull out of the ruling alliance. Three more Shiv Sena MLAs – Deepak Kesakar (MLA from Sawantwadi), Mangesh Kudalkar (Chembur) and Sada Sarvankar (Dadar) took a morning flight from Mumbai for Guwahati, a close associate of Shinde said.
On Wednesday evening, four MLAs, including Maharashtra minister Gulabrao Patil, had flown to Guwahati. After reaching Guwahati, Shinde had claimed the support of 46 legislators, including some Independents. The rebel leader had given a letter to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly’s deputy speaker, signed by 35 Sena MLAs, replacing Sunil Prabhu with Bharat Gogavale as the chief whip of the Shiv Sena legislature party.
Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal said he has approved the appointment of Ajay Choudhary as the Shiv Sena’s group leader in the House, replacing rebel legislator Shinde.