“There is no time for any further delay. People want Shiv Sena to ally with the BJP. All the important ministries are with NCP or Congress”.
Mumbai: Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar, who is among the latest to join the party’s rebel camp led by Eknath Shinde, said on Thursday morning that the rebels do not want Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to resign as Chief Minister of Maharashtra. “Instead, we want him to get into an alliance with the BJP and form a new government,” he said in a conversation with NDTV.
Mr. Kesarkar flew to Guwahati in BJP-ruled Assam earlier in the morning to join the Shinde camp. He was being seen with the Thackerays till two days ago.
Over a phone call, he said three Sena MLAs and at least one Independent were with him on the flight. Kesarkar had earlier, too, said that several MLAs told Mr. Thackeray to ditch the Congress and NCP to go with the “natural ally” BJP owing to the Hindutva ideology.
“There is no time for any further delay. People want Shiv Sena to ally with the BJP. All the important ministries are with NCP or Congress. We just have Industries and Urban Development. Departments related to rural Maharashtra are with NCP or Congress.” he said.
“We are not angry with the chief minister. We are angry with the others in the coalition,” Mr. Kesarkar said, adding that it would be better for the state to have the same ruling parties as in the Centre, he added.
The Shiv Sena and BJP, both of which profess Hindutva as part of their ideology, had fought the 2019 assembly election together but the Sena allied with NCP and Congress to form the government after differences arose over leadership positions. Mr. Kesarkar highlighted that the Sena-BJP alliance had been in place for 25 years.
He claimed that most of the Sena MLAs are with Eknath Shinde now. Asked whom he considered the party leader between Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde, he said, “We spoke with the chief minister several times. And now he is saying he is ready to resign. But we don’t want his resignation. We want that the state and Centre should have the same regime so that Maharashtra progresses,” Mr. Kesarkar said.
Speaking about personal ambitions, he said he’d been made an offer by the BJP. “Yet, I stayed with the Shiv Sena as I respect the Thackeray family.” He said he had the “best” portfolio for a Minister of State in the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP-Sena regime, “But I was not even upset at not being made a minister this time.”
On being seen with the chief minister’s son and Environment minister Aaditya Thackeray two days ago, he said, “I told him during that car ride, too, whatever I had to. I said I won’t stay at the hotel (where MLAs were put up) but remain at home as my wife was unwell. He agreed. Yet, party workers misbehaved with me, and stopped my car; some men were deployed to keep an eye on me, “He said, “I have taken a decision now. I will not go back on it.”
Meanwhile, Mamta Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has staged a protest outside the Guwahati hotel where the MLAs are staying, alleging the sale of MLAs.