Even as the political turmoil in Maharashtra continues, the Shiv Sena on Friday organised a meeting of the district presidents of the state and other top-level functionaries.
Aaditya Thackeray, Vinayak Raut, Sachin Ahir among others attended the meeting at the Shiv Sena Bhawan. Uddhav Thackeray attended the meeting through video conferencing.
Shiv Sena leader Sachin Ahir, who recently won the state council elections, said that they were waiting for the orders from Uddhav Thackeray for the next plan of action.
The Sena Bhawan wore a desolate look on morning hours. It was only by noon that the party functionaries started arriving. India Today talked to some past and present functionaries to understand their view point on the present situation.
Mahesh Patil, Taluka President in the Nanded District, sounded optimistic and said that the Shiv Sena will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes.
“This isn’t the first time that Shiv Sena is facing such a rebellion. This has happened before as well. We have seen four rebellions now. These rebels got a name and fame from the party and today they have done this mean act. History is a testimony that those who betray Shiv Sena lose everything. This is a party of Balasaheb Thackeray and will remain so and those who act against it will be finished,” he said.
Sunil Baspere, Ex-Corporator Latur, remembering the old days of the Sena patriarch, said that Balasaheb Thackeray had a magic wand to deal with such situations.
“But now his son Uddhav Thackeray too has a magic wand and, in a day, or two everyone in the country will see what the Shiv Sena chief does. The MLAs with the Shinde camp are rebels right now because they are in BJP-ruled state but once they come to Mumbai they will automatically have a change of heart and become real Shiv Sainiks,” he said.
When asked how had so many MLAs decided to jump ship, the Sena leader said that it was all the doing of BJP.
“All this is happening because of the pressure that has been built by the BJP. Central agencies like the ED and CBI are at work. Today, even a small child knows what ED and CBI is. Ten years back, I didn’t even know the nature of agencies, but today it’s very clear. We are sure very soon all these MLAs will be back in the Sena fold,” he said.
India Today asked yet another Sena leader to comment on Eknath Shinde, who had said that he doesn’t want the CM post nor does he want to leave Shiv Sena.
“If he didn’t want to leave Shiv Sena what was the need to leave Mumbai and write letters from Guwahati,” the Sena leader, whose name could not be ascertained in the ensuing rush, said on a parting note.
The Shiv Sena-led MVA is currently facing a survival crisis due to a rebellion by senior leader and minister Eknath Shinde. The senior Sena leader now claims to have over 40 MLAs on his side — including the independent MLAs — to buck the anti-defection law.
The total strength of the Maharashtra Assembly is 287 and the majority, in the event of a trust vote, is 144. The ruling coalition of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress has 169 seats. If the MLAs led by Shinde do resign, then the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s (MVA) strength will fall below the majority mark, leading to a possible collapse of Uddhav Thackeray-led government.
The crisis erupted hours after the Legislative Council polls held on June 20, which saw the Opposition BJP managing to get its fifth candidate elected. Shinde had gone incommunicado following the results. He and a group of rebel MLAs first stayed in Gujarat, but later moved to Assam.