Maharashtra political crisis news: The weather department had issued an orange alert of heavy rains for several districts in Maharashtra earlier this week. Mumbai and other adjoining area witnessed rainfall bringing back woes that have become a norm every monsoon. While Mumbaikars continue to brave monsoon rains, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena finds itself drenched in unrest triggered by one of its own.
Probably facing the worst-ever crisis, the Shiv Sena is currently battling a stiff battle for survival after party's strongman Eknath Shinde stunned his boss Uddhav Thackeray and claimed that he has support of over 40 MLAs. To make matters worse for Uddhav, over 10 of Shiv Sena's 19 MPs have also backed Shinde in the revolt, reports have said.
Eknath Shinde, earlier on Wednesday (June 22), said that Shiv Sena must break 'unnatural alliance' with Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and Congress (the two other alliance partners in the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi -MVA government). Later in the evening, Uddhav made an emotional appeal to dissident Sena MLAs to sit and talk face-to-face to bridge the divide.
"Today I am pained and shocked because it is not the NCP or the Congress that don't want me as the CM, it is my own people. I would resign immediately even if one the MLAs (of Shiv Sena) tells me to quit," Uddhav said in address over Facebook live. Hours later he moved out of Varsha - the official chief minister's house to Matoshree - the family home of Thackerays.
Uddhav's soft Hindutva plank cost him?
Shiv Sena's rebel pack has raised the issue of 'Hindutva'. Uddhav, in his FB address hit back, saying,"Shiv Sena and Hindutva cannot be separated from each other. I am the first CM to speak about Hindutva in the assembly."
After the 2019 assembly elections, Uddhav Thackeray, in an apparent bid to keep the BJP out of power, joined hands with NCP and Congress - two parties completely opposite to the ideology that Sena is known for. Uddhav failed to realise that the move could upset Shivsainiks.
Though party's staunch supporters had then backed Uddhav's decision, the ground level Shivsainik didn't approve of the party's stand of opposing Modi government's big decision of scrapping Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has adopted a wait and watch strategy amid the latest Sena drama, used a well-crafted campaign to question Shiv Sena's new approach while slamming Uddhav of sidelining the 'saffron' heritage of Balasaheb Thackeray.
Though the Shiv Sena leadership realised the discontent among supporters over this issue which was evident from Aaditya Thackeray's visit to recent visit to Ayodhya, it was too late to send across the intended message.
Reports of Uddhav Thackeray not entertaining calls of senior ministers from NCP or that of top Sena leaders made headlines in local media frequently. The CM, in his Facebook speech, himself stopped short of admitting the same but attributed it to health issues.
Now, even if Uddhav steps down to pacify the rebel group led by Eknath Shinde, it is only prudent to say that the present day Shiv Sena has weaned in power that it enjoyed during Balasaheb's leadership.