Breaking his silence on the escalating political crisis in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said that he is ready to resign as CM and Shiv Sena president if the rebel MLAs and their Shiv Sainiks come and come to their faces.
Addressing through Facebook, Uddhav urged the rebels to come face-to-face or call them and express what they want, instead of “trolling” them through social media. He said, ‘I am keeping my resignation ready. Those MLAs who have gone missing should come and hand over that letter to the Governor.
“I am ready to give up the post of Shiv Sena chief as well. But don’t tell me this on Twitter and by trolling me. My Shiv Sainiks will have to tell me this and I will give up both the posts (CM and Shiv Sena chief). But come face to face and tell me,” he said, adding, “As long as there is a Shiv Sainik CM, I am very happy.” He further said that he took over as the chief minister despite being inexperienced after NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s suggestion.
In his address, Uddhav also said that Shiv Sena and Hindutva are two sides of the same coin, adding that “Shiv Sena has done a lot for Hindutva”. “Some people are trying to show that this Balasaheb (Bal Thackeray) is not Shiv Sena. We are carrying forward the same ideas of Balasaheb,” Uddhav said.
Uddhav’s remarks on Hindutva follow senior leader Eknath Shinde’s allegation that “Shiv Sena has given up Hindutva”. I am with Hindutva and Shiv Sena has left Hindutva. I will not return to Shiv Sena,” he had told Shiv Sena MLA Milind Narvekar, who was sent by Uddhav to the Surat hotel where Shinde was camping with 26 other MLAs on Monday night.
Shinde has thrown the Uddhav government into an existential crisis as the leaders are camping in BJP-ruled Assam with over 40 MLAs.
On Wednesday, 34 MLAs wrote a letter to the Governor of Maharashtra supporting Shinde. The leaders said Eknath Shinde would continue to be the leader of the Sena’s legislature party, a day after Uddhav sacked him amid the rebellion.
Meanwhile, Shinde said the letter issued by Shiv Sena Chief Whip Sunil Prabhu – instructing all Shiv Sena MLAs to attend the legislature party meeting at Uddhav Thackeray’s house ‘Varsha’ at 5 pm or face action – ” legally invalid” as MLA Bharat Gogavale has been appointed as the party’s chief whip. However, the meeting at 5 pm was later canceled by Uddhav.
The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance currently has 152 MLAs – 55 of the Shiv Sena, 53 of the NCP and 44 of the Congress – as its main strength. The alliance also claims the support of some smaller parties and independent candidates.
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