'Seek votes in the name of your father': Uddhav Thackeray after Eknath Shinde-led rebel MLAs name their faction 'Shiv Sena Balasaheb'

Thackeray recalled his election as party chief and spoke about the role played by his father while talking about party discontent

Sanjay JogUpdated: Saturday, June 25, 2022, 11:34 PM IST
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Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray | File Photo

Mumbai: As the political crisis in Maharashtra deepens in the wake of the rebellion staged by over 40 Shiv Sena legislators led by the urban development minister, Eknath Shinde, it is now amply clear that it is a battle between the ‘inheritors’ and ‘pretenders’. Shiv Sena President and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in his address at the party’s national executive meeting on Saturday claimed that the party founded by his father, Balasaheb Thackeray, was the real one and after his demise, Uddhav had assumed its leadership. He asked the Shinde camp not to use Balasaheb’s name for its outfit and dared them to get elected in its name and that of his father.

Taking an aggressive stance, Thackeray said, “If you (rebel camp) have the courage, seek votes in the name of your fathers. Balasaheb’s name cannot be used by others. The Shiv Sena is like fire, do not put your feet in it, you will be scorched.”

Thackeray recalled his election as party chief and spoke about the role played by his father while talking about party discontent. “I told Balasaheb to stop all this. Balasaheb told me he wouldn’t intervene and to let them decide (those who objected to my election). After the resolution was finally passed, the Shiv Sena chief had asked everyone if they agreed with what had been decided.

“What is your accomplishment? If you have the courage, ask for votes in the names of your fathers,” said Thackeray. “You were ‘Nath’ (God) and now, you can become ‘Das’ (slaves),” said Thackeray. He noted, “The rebels should make their decision. Balasaheb’s name cannot be used by others,” he repeated.

What the rebels say

However, the rebel camp spokesman and former minister Deepak Kesarkar claimed that they continued to be in the Shiv Sena and were in the midst of the formation of the Shiv Sena Balasaheb group. “The legislators camping in Guwahati’s Radisson Blu Hotel will go out to court if their faction ‘Shiv Sena Balasaheb’ isn’t recognized.

“Recognition should be given to our faction, if it is not, we’ll go to court and prove our existence and numbers. We have numbers, but we respect CM Uddhav Thackeray and we won’t speak against him. We must follow the path on which we fought assembly elections,” said Kesarkar.

The rebel Shiv Sena MLA asserted that the faction led by Eknath Shinde “is still in the Shiv Sena” and that they “are not merging with any other party”.

“We are still in the Shiv Sena, there’s a misunderstanding that we’ve left the party. We’ve just separated our faction. We have two-thirds majority to follow the path we want. Our new leader has been chosen by a majority. They don’t have more than 16-17 MLAs,” Kesarkar said. “There’s no need to merge, our faction will be given different recognition and we aren’t merging with any other party,” he added.

Kesarkar further said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wasn’t behind their rebellion. “No party is paying for our expenses (hotel accommodation), our leader Eknath Shinde called us and we came and stayed here (Guwahati hotel); he will pay the expenses. The BJP isn’t behind any of this,” he said.

Six resolutions passed

The party’s national executive passed six resolutions, including authorising Thackeray to take all the decisions, one of which was taking action against the party rebels. A resolution was passed, condemning the treachery of the Shinde-led rebels while expressing faith and confidence in Thackeray’s leadership. The executive also resolved to stand firmly with Thackeray. In another resolution, it said the rebel camp could not use Balasaheb Thackeray’s name to seek votes.

Another resolution was passed to hail the CM’s performance in two-and-a-half years of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s rule and especially, in combatting the pandemic. Further, legal action would be taken against those not following the party’s ideology, it was resolved.

The Shiv Sena is determined to fight the forthcoming municipal, Nagar Parishad, Nagar Panchayat, Zilla Parishad, Panchayat Samiti and Gram Panchayat elections in Maharashtra with full vigour and ensure it emerges victorious.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said strict action would be taken against the rebel MLAs. “The Shiv Sena sought the disqualification of rebel MLAs on Friday, 16 of whom, including Eknath Shinde, have been served disqualification notices by the deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly. The work that CM Uddhav Thackeray has done is commendable. We will all fight the elections under his leadership,” he declared.

Rebel ministers to lose posts: Raut

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut announced that all those ministers who rebelled, including the urban development minister, Eknath Shinde, would lose their ministerial positions in 24 hours. The ministers included Gulabrao Patil, Dadaji Bhuse, Sandipan Bhumre, Shambhuraj Desai, Abdul Sattar, Bacchu Kadu (Independent) and Rajendra Patil Yadravkar, apart from Shinde. The government will recommend their ouster to Governor B S Koshyari.

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