In a latest development, Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde has said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has lauded him for taking a "historic decision" to rebel against his party and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra. He also said that the saffron party has assured him to be present whenever needed.
"They (BJP) are a national party...They have told me that the decision which I have taken is historic, and whenever I need them they will be present," Shinde said while addressing the rebel MLAs camping in Guwahati's Radisson Blu Hotel.
Meanwhile, the rebel MLAs today unanimously chose Shinde as their leader. In the video tweeted by news agency ANI, one of the MLAs was heard saying that they were unanimously giving Shinde, their group leader, the authority to make decisions.
Earlier in the day, Shinde tweeted a letter written by rebel MLA Sanjay Shirsat, claiming that the former took the step of going against the party leadership as Sena MLAs, who faced "humilitation" for the last two-and-a-half years, persuaded him to do so.
While the Shiv Sena legislators had no access to the chief minister, the Congress and NCP, which are the "real opponents" of the Sena, were getting all the attention, he claimed in the letter, dated June 22.
The Sena shares power with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra.
Shirsat, the MLA from Aurangabad (West) Assembly constituency, in the letter claimed that despite the Shiv Sena being in power and having its own chief minister, the coterie around Thackeray never allowed them access to 'Varsha', the CM's official residence.
There was no question of going to 'Mantralaya', the state secretariat, because the chief minister never came there, he said.
After this, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said that the party is ready to come out of the MVA government if the rebel MLAs are willing for it.
"MLAs should not communicate from Guwahati, they should come back to Mumbai and discuss all this with CM. We are ready to consider exiting out of MVA if this is the will of all MLAs, but for that, they have to come here and discuss it with the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, said Raut.
Raut further claimed that 21 MLAs in Guwahati have contacted Shiv Sena and when they return to Mumbai they will be with the party.
"Uddhav Thackeray will come back to Varsha very soon. 21 MLAs in Guwahati have contacted us and when they return to Mumbai, they will be with us," he added.
(With PTI inputs)