Maharashtra political crisis: The Shiv Sena has called a meeting of party MLAs at 5 PM today at Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's residence in Mumbai. The meeting assumes significance as it has been convened in the backdrop of a political crisis that has rocked Maharashtra following a revolt by senior Sena leader Eknath Shinde and several MLAs.
The party has asked all the MLAs to reach Uddhav's residence for the meeting, adding that absentees would face stern action. The letter, issued by Sena's chief whip Sunil Prabhu, warned that if someone remains absent from the meeting without proper reason and prior information, they should keep in mind that action will be initiated to cancel their membership as per constitutional provisions. The letter has been sent to MLAs via email and WhatsApp.
Several Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde have revolted against the party, plunging the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra into a crisis. Shinde is believed to be upset with the party leadership over an alliance with the Congress and NCP.
The Sena is the largest constituent of the MVA with 55 MLA. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Sharad Pawar has 53 MLAs while the Congress has 44 MLAs. The BJP is the single largest party with 106 MLAs in the 288-member Legislative Assembly.
Notably, the BJP and Shiv Sena contested elections together in 2019 and secured a comfortable majority. But the Shiv Sena separated from the BJP-led NDA after the result was declared, ending a 25-year-long political partnership. Sena then joined the ranks with then arch-rivals NCP of Sharad Pawar and Congress to form an alliance government in the state.
Meanwhile, Shinde has claimed that he enjoys the support of more than 40 MLAs.
"Right now we have 46 MLAs with us, including 6-7 Independent MLAs. The rest of them are Shiv Sena MLAs. This number will rise in the time to come. As of now we have neither received any proposal from BJP nor are we holding any talks with them," he said.
"As far as current political situation is concerned, I'd say that we are Balasaheb Thackeray's Shiv Sainiks and will continue to be Shiv Sainiks. As of now, we are not holding any talks with Shiv Sena or CM. We have not decided on the future course of action," Shinde added.
Shinde and other rebel MLAs are currently camping at a luxury hotel in Guwahati. They arrived here in the wee hours today on a charter flight from Gujarat's Surat.