Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on Saturday claimed that the Eknath Shinde-led government will soon collapse and Maharashtra will have mid-term elections.
Speaking before a gathering of party workers here on the third day of his `Shiv Samvad Yatra', an outreach campaign, he also said the rebel Sena legislators betrayed his father, then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, when he was unwell.
Paithan is the Assembly constituency of Sena MLA and former minister Sandipan Bhumre who has joined the rebel Shiv Sena faction led by chief minister Shinde.
"Mark my words.. this government will soon collapse and Maharashtra will have to face mid-term polls," said Aaditya, a former minister himself.
Rubbishing Bhumre's claim that Sena ministers in the previous Sena-NCP-Congress government did not get funds, Aaditya Thackeray said Paithan region got the first scheme under the Marathwada water-grid project.
"Bhumre was given Assembly ticket five times. When I thought of everything we have done for these people, tears came to my eyes. But this is not the time to cry, this is the time to fight," he said.
The state faced rain fury in the last fortnight and many lives were lost, but the government is being run by only two people (Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis), the Sena leader said.
He called the 40 rebel MLAs as "traitors" who conspired to split the Shiv Sena when his father was unwell and leading the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Later in the day, Aaditya also spoke at a rally at Nevasa in Ahmednagar district where he praised Shankarrao Gadakh, a Sena ally and MLA of Krantikari Shetkari Paksh.
"If you have friends, they should be like Gadakh. Your own people (on the other hand) betray you and turn traitors," he said, speaking even as it rained heavily.
"Gadakh was firm on his decision to stay with Uddhav-ji and kept his commitment even after the government was toppled. While working in the government, Uddhav-ji's only mistake was that he couldn't indulge in politicking. He did not snoop on his MLAs and MPs. We will continue to commit this mistake, because if we can't trust Shiv Sena workers, who do we trust," he said.
Aaditya also said that the rebel Sena MLAs who have been "forced to revolt" were welcome to return to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party if they wished so.