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Shiv Sena takes a U-turn, says it hasn’t yet decided on supporting Government during no-trust vote

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has asked his party MPs to remain in Delhi, but the final decision as to whether the party will support the Modi government against the Opposition’s no-confidence motion will be taken on Friday, a Sena functionary said on Thursday.

On Thursday, BJP chief Amit Shah reportedly spoke to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on phone, after which it decided to vote in favour of the NDA government.

A Sena source said the earlier whip was issued “by mistake” and it has been recalled. He said there was a change in plans after the party learnt that the BJP, in a bid to woo Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana’s Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti, assured him of considering his demand to increase the milk procurement price in Maharashtra, even though Shetti has been a vocal critic of the NDA and the BJP. Late in the evening, the government announced an increase of Rs 5 in milk prices.

The no-confidence motion was moved by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) — a former constituent in the NDA. The move is supported by the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), a bitter rival of the TMC, among others.

The Shiv Sena has been a vocal critic of the Modi government since 2015 and has regularly panned it in party mouthpiece Saamana. It has even called the Modi government as the worst to govern India.

A senior Sena leader, who did not want to be named, said that the party is unlikely to support the opposition in the motion. He said that Thackeray has not conveyed his decision to them, and added that the party could “either abstain or vote in favour” and the option of supporting the Opposition parties is unlikely.

The no-trust motion will be the first since the BJP-led NDA government came to power four years ago. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s decision to accept the motion moved by former BJP ally TDP and others came on the first day of the monsoon session.

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