Eknath Shinde Just 1 MLA Short Of The Magic Number?

Eknath Shinde

According to sources, the Congress and NCP have suggested that rebel Eknath Shinde be named as Chief Minister.

Mumbai:¬†Trouble continues to mount for the Maharashtra Vikas Agadhi as three more Shiv Sena MLAs have left Mumbai to back senior leader Eknath Shinde, at the center of a rebellion that is at the threshold of splitting the party. The Shinde camp now has 36 MLAs (out of the party’s 55 MLAs) on its side.

Deepak Kesakar (MLA from Sawantwadi), Mangesh Kudalkar (Chembur), and Sada Sarvankar (Dadar) took a morning flight from Mumbai to Guwahati on Thursday morning.

The Shinde camp now needs just one more to split the party without facing disqualification under anti-defection laws. Five Independent MLAs are with Mr. Shinde too.

According to sources, the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP — the alliance partners of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra — have suggested that rebel Eknath Shinde be named as Chief Minister as a way out of the huge political turmoil that has engulfed the ruling coalition.

Shinde, who is leading the Sena revolt, has alleged that the ruling coalition was beneficial only to alliance partners, while ordinary Shiv Sainiks have suffered the most in the last two-and-a-half years of the coalition’s rule. “It is important to decide on the interest of the state,” Mr. Shinde, who is camping in Guwahati along with rebel Sena MLAs, tweeted Wednesday.

The Shiv Sena, in its mouthpiece, “Saamana”, said that the rebel’s MLAs were elected on Shiv Sena tickets, warning that “if the Shiv Sainiks decide, then all will be the former forever.”

With the last two-and-a-half years of the coalition’s existence at stake, Mr. Thackeray on Wednesday mentioned his father and party founder Balasaheb Thackeray as he made an emotional address to rebels. “If my people don’t want me as Chief Minister, they should walk up to me and say so… I’m ready to resign… I am Balasaheb’s son, I am not after a post,” Mr. Thackeray, who tested positive for Covid — said in a Facebook address this evening.

The rebel MLAs, camping in BJP-ruled Assam, met shortly after Mr. Thackeray’s address. The meeting lasted around 50 minutes. Mr. Shinde has claimed that he has the support of 46 MLAs, including 6-7 Independent MLAs. “This number will rise in the time to come,” Mr. Shinde was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.¬†


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