Uddhav Thackeray fights to keep control over Shiv Sena


The Hindu

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Uddhav Thackeray fights to keep control over Shiv Sena

A revolt against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray by his second-in-command and senior Minister Eknath Shinde has turned in to a battle to control the party. Mr. Thackeray on Wednesday said that he would quit the Chief Minister’s post and even the party’s top position if his party workers told him to do so to his face. Insisting that he had always overcome challenges, Mr. Thackeray said that he was ready to face more and wouldn’t mind if another Sena worker replaced him as the CM.

In an emotional address to the people over Facebook, Mr. Thackeray, who has tested positive for COVID-19 said: “We joined hands with Congress and NCP (Nationalist Congress Party), but it’s not they who are telling me to quit. The sad part for me is that my own people [Shiv Sainiks] have lost trust on me. I considered them mine; I don’t know about them. I am ready to resign. But come and meet me face-to-face. Tell me that I should quit on my face and I will resign.”

He stressed that instead of speaking to him from Surat in Gujarat, those with any grievances should come to meet him. Mr. Thackeray also said he would be leaving the CM’s official residence, ‘Varsha’, and moving to his personal residence ‘Matoshri’.

On the other hand, Mr. Shinde, who is currently stationed at Guwahati in Assam along with the group of MLAs supporting him, has been claiming the support of the majority of Shiv Sena MLAs and demanding that the Sena ally with the BJP, for the sake of Hindutva, by cutting ties with the Congress and the NCP. Replying to Mr. Thackeray, Mr. Shinde tweeted that the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government benefited only its allies and harmed Sena workers. He tweeted with the hashtag #HindutvaForever: “While allies were getting stronger, Sena workers and Sena was systematically damaged. It is extremely important to quit from this unnatural alliance to save party and workers. It is important to take the decision now for the welfare of Maharashtra.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Shinde and his loyalists moved to Guwahati in Assam, from where he challenged the authority of the letter by Sunil Prabhu, Shiv Sena’s chief whip and Mr. Thackeray’s loyalist, in which he asked rebel MLAs to attend a meeting of party MLAs on Wednesday evening. Mr. Prabhu in his letter warned that the absence of an MLA would be considered as his voluntary decision to quit the party’s membership and he would face action under the sections to disqualify him.

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