Eknath Shinde EXCLUSIVE: Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde has claimed that there are 40 party MLAs and 12 independent legislators who are camping with him at a hotel in Guwahati. In an exclusive conversation with India TV on Friday morning, Shinde also said that he has not received any proposal from the BJP yet to form a government.
"40 Shiv Sena and 12 Independents...this is the strength here," he told India TV on phone from Guwahati.
The Sena strongman further said that the disqualification notice moved by the party before the Deputy Speaker was illegal.
"The disqualification notice given by Shiv Sena to the Deputy Speaker is wrong... the person issuing the whip is wrong. They are in minority and have no right to file a petition. The majority is with us. This is an illegal activity," he said.
The politician, who enjoys much political clout in Thane, also categorically rejected the Deputy Speaker's concerns over the authentication of the signatures in a letter sent by his camp yesterday wherein the rebel MLAs declared Shinde as their leader.
Earlier this week, Sena had replaced Shinde as the legislature party leader with Ajay Chaudhari. The disqualification notice of 12 MLAs was submitted by Ajay to the Deputy Speaker on Thursday evening.
When Shinde was asked whether he has received any proposal from the BJP, he replied: "..have received no proposal from the BJP."
The revolt by Shinde and scores of Sena MLAs have plunged the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra into a crisis. The MVA is an alliance of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.
Shinde and rebel MLAs had initially moved to a hotel in neighbouring Gujarat's Surat a day after the Sena-led alliance suffered a setback in the MLC polls. The rebel MLAs then moved to Guwahati in the BJP-ruled Assam by a charter flight.
Shinde is demanding from Uddhav to exit an unnatural alliance and join the ranks again with the BJP to form a stable government. Notably, the Sena had in 2019 quit the BJP-led alliance soon after the declaration of the Assembly election result (even though the alliance secured a comfortable majority in the 288-member House) and sided with then arch-rivals NCP and Congress.