It’s now official. A month after a rebellion staged by 40 MLAs, 12 of the total 19 Shiv Sena MPs on Tuesday met CM Eknath Shinde and joined his camp Expressing their support and confidence in his leadership. They also claimed their support was the stand taken by Shinde on Hindutva and pursuing thoughts of Balasaheb Thackeray and also patch up with BJP in the larger interest of the state and its people.
The list of 12 MPs included Rahul Shewale, Krupal Tumane, Bhavana Gawali, Hemant Patil, Hemant Godse, Rajendra Gavit, Shrikant Shinde (son of CM Eknath Shinde), Shrirang Barne, Sadashiv Lokhande, Sanjay Mandlik, Dhairyasheel Mane and Prataprao Jadhav. As reported by the Free Press Journal, they had attended a virtual meeting with Shinde on Monday extending their support but today they formally met him and joined his camp in New Delhi. Shewale, who is the party MP from south central Mumbai has been appointed the Shiv Sena group leader replacing the incumbent Vinayak Raut in the Lok Sabha while party MP from Yavatmal-Washim Bhavana Gawali, who was sacked by the Thackeray camp, has been reinstated as the chief whip replacing another MPs Rajan Vichare.
Shinde, who was accompanied by all 12 MPs at the Maharashtra Sadan, New Delhi, said they met the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and submitted the letter signed by 12 MPs. ‘’Rahul Shewale is a new group leader and Bhavana Gawali is chief whip in the Lok Sabha. Therefore, all 19 MPs will have to strictly follow the whip issued by chief whip Bhavana Gawali in the Lok Sabha,’’he added.
The letter by 12 MPs came a day after Shiv Sena group leader Vinayak Raut, who was replaced today, had submitted a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla with a request not to give an exporter ruling.
Shewale claimed that, ‘’ We are still in the NDA and have not formed a separate group. In 2019, Arvind Sawant had resigned from the union cabinet but no letter of quitting NDA or joining UPA was given to the Lok Sabha Speaker.’’ ‘’We took the decision to support Cm Eknath Shinde through our chief whip and conveyed it to the Lok Sabha Speaker,’’ he said and reiterated that 12 MPs have not formed a separate group and they would continue to be part of the NDA.
Shewale said that the party MPs would support the NDA nominee Jagdeep Dhankar and not the UPA nominee Margaret Alva in the Vice President’s election. ‘’We are with the NDA so we will support the NDA nominee in the Vice President’s election.
His announcement came days after party MP Sanjay Raut said the party will support Alva who is the joint candidate of opposition parties in the Vice President’s election slated for August 6. Shewale claimed that Alva during her stint as the Congress in charge of Maharashtra had meted injustice to Shiv Sena.
Shewale said all MPs had complained against Vinayak Raut to the party president Uddhav Thackeray and demanded that he should be removed from the Shiv Sena group leader’s post in the Lok Sabha. ‘’However, our request was not accepted, so we all took the decision and decided to change the group leader,’’ he noted.
Shinde failed to get time with PM, HM despite waiting for 12 hours in Delhi
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who was in New Delhi since Monday night, did not get any appointment from the BJP’s central leadership including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss and finalise the cabinet expansion which still hangs in the balance. Shinde reportedly waited for 12 hours on Tuesday in the CM’s suite at the Maharashtra Sadan expecting appointments. Shinde to a question said the cabinet expansion will take place soon though he declined to divulge further details.
However, Shinde said he held meetings with the government lawyers and legal experts on the OBC case which is coming up for hearing in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Besides, he has reportedly discussed with legal team on the clutch of cases to be heated by the apex court with regard to disqualification of legislators proposed by Thackeray faction and Shinde camp.