Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Sunday received yet another jolt as the higher and technical education minister Uday Samant, who comes from Ratnagiri district, joined the Eknath Shinde-led rebel camp. He is the ninth minister to join the rebels.
Samant, who was in Mumbai for the past few days and had taken part in all the Sena brainstormers, abruptly left for Surat and from there, took a flight to Guwahati.
Now, Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, who was elected from the Worli assembly constituency, is the lone Shiv Sena cabinet minister left with CM Uddhav Thackeray from the state assembly. Thackeray himself was elected to the state council.
Another cabinet minister Shankarrao Gandakh was elected from Krantikari Shetkari. The other Shiv Sena cabinet ministers included Subhash Desai and Anil Parab who are from the state council.
On the other hand, the 9 ministers in the rebel camp include Eknath Shinde, Cabinet Minister of Urban Development and Public Works, Dadaji Bhuse, Minister of Agriculture, Ex Soldiers Welfare; Gulabrao Patil, Minister of Water Supply and Sanitation; Sandeepan Bhumre, Minister of Employment Guarantee and Horticulture; Uday Samant,Minister of Higher and Technical Education; Shambhuraj Desai, Minister of state for Home (Rural), Finance and Planning, State Excise, Marketing, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; Abdul Sattar, Minister of state for Revenue, Rural Development, Ports, Khar land Development and Special Assistance; Rajendra Patil Yadravkar, Minister of state for Public Health & Family Welfare, Medical Education, Food & Drug Administration, Textile, Culture Affairs; and Bachhu Kadu, Minister of state for Water Resources (Irrigation) & Command Area Development, School Education, Woman & Child Development, Labour, OBC-SEBC-SBC-VJNT Welfare.
Further, Shinde camp has claimed the support of 39 Shiv Sena MLAs, including Eknath Shinde, two MLAs of Prahar JanShakti and 7 independents.
On the other hand, there are only 16 of the total 55 MLAs in the state assembly left with the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena.
'These MLAs are living corpses'
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday called the 40 MLAs camping in Guwahati “living corpses”, whose “bodies will be sent for a post-mortem to the assembly”.
Referring to them and rebel leader Eknath Shinde, Raut said, “40 MLAs in Guwahati are living corpses, their souls are dead. Their bodies will be sent directly to the assembly for post-mortem when they come back. They know what can happen in the fire that has been lit here.” On his brother Sunit Raut being in touch with the rebel camp, he said, “Sunil Raut is holding a rally in Vikhrohli, go and see. Anyone from our family will never leave the Sena, it’s in our blood,” adding that rebel ministers will soon be expelled and the public needed to “have patience”.