Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who has shaken the foundations of the Maharashtra government, on Wednesday reiterated that he had no plans to cut off ties with the party and would always remain “Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sainik”.
In an exclusive interview to News18 India’s Vivek Gupta, Shinde said he and the other rebel MLAs were “following Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva line and would take his agenda forward”.
Refusing to divulge details of his future plans, Shinde — who claims to have the support of over 40 MLAs now — said he would talk at the opportune moment but denied buzz of floating a new party.
The senior leader also rubbished allegations of being sidelined and ignored but admitted that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had not reached out to him yet. “I haven’t had any conversation with Uddhav Thackeray,” said Shinde, adding that he will reveal his plans to the media when he decides the future course of action.
While several leaders of the MVA feel the move is mere political arm-twisting, given that Shinde was upset with the top brass for quite some time over being overlooked, political analysts say the rebel leader doesn’t have too many options.
In case he decides to align with the BJP, he will have to give up on his chief ministerial ambitions, while a decision to float a new party would purely depend on the numerical strength he has.
In the latest on the Maharashtra scene, Uddhav Thackeray has tested positive for Covid-19 and is likely to resign on Wednesday evening to quell the rebellion in the ranks. This comes after Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari too tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday morning and was hospitalised.
Meanwhile, senior Sena leader and Uddhav Thackeray’s confidant Sanjay Raut has hinted that the political drama in the state is progressing towards the possibility of dissolving the state assembly.
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