Shinde meets Sena leaders; BJP’s Sanjay Kute reaches Surat hotel

However, Sanjay Raut claimed that the party is now in touch with a few of their MLAs who are currently in Surat.

The Maha Vikas Agadhi (MVA) government on Tuesday faced its worst political crisis as at least one Shiv Sena Minister along with other ministers and several MLAs veered towards a revolt and are now parked in Gujarat.

As per the latest news reports, Shiv Sena leaders – Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Pathak – who had travelled to Surat to meet the former Sena chief whip Eknath Shinde. The leaders met for a period of two hours following which they returned to report to Sena chief and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Meanwhile, right after the meeting, senior Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs Sanjay Kute has also reportedly met Shinde. Details of the meeting are awaited.

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Earlier Eknath Shinde removed Shiv Sena from his Twitter bio.

Ekanth Shinde shakes Maharastra political ground

Following the jolt to the MVA government, Shiv Sena MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut told reporters on Tuesday that the party is in touch with the “displeased” MLAs who have reportedly been camping in Le Meridien Hotel in Surat since morning.

Shiv Sena’s senior Eknath Shinde along with 21 MLAs, reportedly moved to Le Meridien Hotel in Gujarat, causing warning bells to the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA coalition government.

“We are in touch with our MLAs who are in Surat now,” Raut had claimed.

“We are discussing the situation with Uddhav Thackeray Ji and Pawar Sahib. Those working with the thought that they are kingmakers will be unsuccessful,” said Raut, adding that he has full trust in all the 22 MLAs who will return to the party. “Shinde is a true Sainik.”

Raut also said that this is an effort by the Bharatiya Janata Party to topple the current government, however, they will once again be unsuccessful in their doing.

“Efforts are being made to topple the MVA government but BJP has to remember that Maharashtra is very different from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh,” Raut had said.

“At the time of the formation of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, a similar effort was made by BJP, but that experiment was not successful. So now, the same effort is being made again,” Raut had alleged.

The MVA comprising Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress, has 165 MLAs in the 288-member house, while the BJP has 121 MLAs.

A Congress leader said, “There’s no immediate threat to the MVA though “frantic efforts are underway to bring down the government ahead of the civic polls in Maharashtra and the states’ elections later in the year.

As a precaution, the Congress is planning to herd its flock and has summoned all its MLAs to rush to Mumbai this evening.

The Nationalist Congress Party is also keeping close tabs on its legislators even as Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis airdashed to New Delhi to consult party bigwigs.

Where did trouble for the MVA government begin?

Trouble started on Tuesday (June 21) when a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won five seats in the just concluded Legislative Council elections. Shiv Sena’s senior Eknath Shinde along with 22 MLAs, reportedly moved to Le Meridien Hotel in Gujarat, causing warning bells to the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government.

Shinde has been reportedly upset by the senior management and has been unreachable for a long time.

However, following the reports of a subsequent rift inside the party, Sanjay Raut accused the opposition BJP of ‘hatching conspiracy’ to topple the Maharashtra government.

“Efforts are being made to topple the MVA government but BJP has to remember that Maharashtra is very different from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh,” he said.

When asked about senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who is the epicentre of all the political earthquake in the state at the moment, Raut said, “I know Eknath Shinde Ji, he is a true Shiv Sainik. He will return without any conditions.”

“There is no basis for the so-called ‘political earthquake’ as is being touted in some circles… This is an attempt to hit at the MVA and the plot is being staged on Gujarat soil. It will prove to be futile as in the past,” Raut added.

Who are the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs?

Following the reports, a list of 22 names surfaced on social media. The list included Shinde and 21 others who are disappointed in the state government.

Maharashtra Legislative Council elections:

On June 10, the Maharashtra Legislative Council elections results were announced in which the BJP won all five seats while Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Shiv Sena bagged two and Congress won just one seat.

All five candidates of the BJP – Shrikant Bharti, Praveen Darekar, Uma Khapre, Ram Shinde and Prasad Lad have won the elections.

All five BJP candidates – Shrikanth Bharti, Praveen Darekar, Uma Khapre, Ram Shinde and Prasad Lav – won the elections.

From Shiv Sena, Sachin Ahir and Amshya Padvi won while NCP’s Eknath Khadse and Ramraje Nimbalkar won two seats each. Jagtap of Congress won one seat.

All 285 eligible MLAs took part in the voting process.

Who is Ekanth Shinde?

Eknath Shinde has been a prominent leader in Shiv Sena. According to many insiders, Shinde has a key role in strengthening the party outside Mumbai as well. He is the current minister for urban affairs in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

According to sources, Shinde has been upset with the senior management. He feels that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddha Thackeray’s son Aditya Thackeray is being given more importance in the party, said a party source to The New Indian Express.

“Shinde has been in touch with senior BJP leader. Gujarat BJP president C R Patil has been playing a major role to bring Shinde closer to BJP. Shinde loyalists MLAs are from Marathwada. He was not happy with the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.”

“His loyalties were not filled in the Rajya Sabha elections and MLC elections. Besides, Thackeray’s son Aditya Thackeray was getting prominence despite being junior in government and party. That widened the gap between Thackeray and Shinde,” said the source to TNIE on condition of anonymity.  

Shine has been elected four times in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly — 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019. He was elected as the leader of the legislative party of Shiv Sena and subsequently the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly.

Shinde’s son Shrikanth Shinde is currently a Lok Sabha MP and his brother Prakash Shinde is a councillor.

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