Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has left his official residence 'Varsha' amid chants of "Uddhav saheb tum aage badho, hum tumhare saath hain" from his supporters. He is going back to his family home 'Matoshree'. He was accompanied by his wife Rashmi and sons Aaditya and Tejas.
Earlier today, an emotional Thackeray offered to quit as Maharashtra CM and extended an olive branch to rebel Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde, saying he will be happy if a Shiv Sainik succeeds him, adding a new twist to the ongoing political crisis that threatens to bring down his coalition government of two-and-a-half years.
Breaking his silence over the revolt led by Shinde, a cabinet minister and Sena strongman from Thane, Thackeray said he was ready to step down if the rebel leader and MLAs supporting him, all camping in Guwahati in the BJP-ruled Assam, declare that they don't want him to continue as CM.
In an 18-minute live webcast which was delayed by 30 minutes, Thackeray, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the day, made an emotional appeal to the rebels as well as common Shiv Sainiks and admitted to being inexperienced and clarified that a spine surgery late last year kept him away from meeting people.
The CM said he was ready to give up the post of party president as well if Shiv Sainiks feel he isn't capable of leading the outfit which is heading the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, which also includes the NCP and the Congress.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said Thackeray will remain the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the ruling coalition MVA will prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly if needed.
He rejected reports that NCP president Sharad Pawar had asked Thackeray to make Shinde the CM to save the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Pawar did not give any advice to Thackeray and instead said the MVA will fight the political crisis together till the end, Raut said.
(With PTI inputs)