Uddhav Thackeray is in no danger of losing either his post as Chief Minister or as top boss of his party, proclaimed Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena today, even as, from the Northeast, came news that suggests the opposite.
This morning, Mr Raut, a senior leader from Mr Thackeray’s team, said 20 of the rebel MLAs “are in touch with us. When they come to Mumbai, you will get to know, (it) will soon be revealed, in what circumstances, pressure these MLAs left us.”
Taking a dig at Shinde, Raut said that the real followers of Balasaheb Thackeray will never act under the fear of the Enforcement Directorate, while adding that mere words cannot make one a true believer of Balasaheb. Raut said that once the ‘rebel’ MLAs return to Mumbai, it will be clear under what pressure they were made to defect. A day after Sena MLA Nitin Deshmukh returned to Nagpur after allegedly fleeing from the ‘rebel’ camp in Gujarat, Raut said that Deshmukh would be addressing the press later in the day on his sweeping claims of kidnapping attempts made by the Gujarat police. Raut further said that the “real lion” is Uddhav Thackeray and not the ones who “run” leaving their government behind.
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Sena sources said only 12 MLAs have come for the party meeting at ‘Varsha’. Aditya Thackeray is at Matoshree, taking the total number of MLAs supporting Uddhav Thackeray to 13.
Here’s the list of MLAs at Varsha:
1) Ajay Choudhary 2) Ravindra Waikar 3) Rajan Salvi 4) Vaibhav Naik 5) Nitin Deshmukh 6) Uday Samant 7) Sunil Raut 8) Sunil Prabhu 9) Dilip Lande 10) Rahul Patil 11) Ramesh Korgaonkar 12) Prakash Fatarpekar
Meanwhile, rebel Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Shirsat who is with Eknath Shinde has taunted Maharashtra Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray for leaving the official residence Varsha.
Tucked into a Guwahati five-star hotel is Eknath Shinde, who has engendered a huge wave of revolt against Mr Thackeray. Over the last 24 hours, the rank and file of the Sena MLAs who have joined him – either physically or in letter – have crossed 40. If that bears out, Mr Thackeray is now backed by just 15 MLAs, reduced to a minority chief in the party founded and led for decades by his father, Bal Thackeray.