Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday spoke to rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and insisted that he come back to Mumbai and hold a discussion. Shinde and his loyalist MLAs have been staying in a hotel in Surat since Monday night - hours after the results of the MLC polls in Maharashtra were declared.
Shinde in his 20-minute phone conversation insisted on patching up with BJP. However, the rebel leader clarified that he has not reached any conclusions yet. Nor has he signed any document. He said that he is raising demands only for the party's good and not for his personal interests, sources said.
Shinde is considered to be a powerful leader in the Shiv Sena camp. He has influence in the Thane region and is often credited for Sena's expansion in other parts of Maharashtra.
It is believed that he was upset with the Sena leadership's functioning. He was also sidelined by the party leadership for some time and not included in the MLC election exercise.
The development came in the backdrop of the Shiv-led alliance suffering an embarrassing defeat in the MLC polls that saw the BJP gaining one additional seat as a result of cross-voting in the ruling alliance.