Uddhav Thackeray camp claims ‘in touch with 20 Shiv Sena MLAs’; what this means for Eknath Shinde’s revolt?

Eknath Shinde revolt: Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday moved out of his official bungalow Varsha. (File)

Guwahati: The Maharashtra political crisis has taken an interesting turn. While Eknath Shinde claimed he has the support of 39 Shiv Sena MLAs and many independents, the Uddhav Thackeray camp has said they are in touch with 20 rebel MLAs. Sanjay Raut, who has been negotiating a peace deal with Shinde and the rebels, has said that the clear picture will emerge after a floor test is conducted in the Maharashtra Assembly. Raut also said that the Shiv Sena is still a strong party. 

“About 20 MLAs are in touch with us…when they come to Mumbai, you will get to know…will soon be revealed, in what circumstances, pressure these MLAs left us,” he said.

Raut claimed the rebels left the party as they were under Enforcement Directorate pressure. He said those who left the Shiv Sena are not the true followers of Bal Thackeray. 

“We’re true Balasaheb bhakts…even we’ve ED pressure but will continue to stand with Uddhav Thackeray. When the floor test happens everyone will see who’s positive and who is negative,” he added.

Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray’s ally Sharad Pawar held a meeting with Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil and other ministers. 

Eknath Shinde has claimed that 46 MLAs are with him in Guwahati and many more would join. However, if these 20 MLAs decide to betray Shinde’s cause during the floor test, his entire plan might come crashing down.

Shinde needs the support of at least 37 Shiv Sena MLAs to safely vote against the Uddhav Thackeray government. Otherwise, the anti-defection law can take effect against them and they might be disqualified as MLAs. If they are disqualified, they won’t be able to vote for the BJP in the house should it try to form a government.

The Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs in the house. The NDA has 113 MLAs, around 32 shy of the majority mark. However, if 37 Shiv Sena MLAs don’t come together, they can become the victim of the law. 

If the anti-defection law kicks in and they are disqualified, by-elections will take place in these seats, providing more months to Uddhav Thackeray and his camp to regroup.

Thackeray, in an emotional appeal, said on Wednesday he would relinquish the posts of Maharashtra chief minister and Shiv Sena president if the rebels met him and asked for the same. He also moved out of his official Varsha bungalow with family and moved to the Matoshri bungalow.  

With inputs from ANI

Originally published at www.dnaindia.com

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