Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray has claimed that some of the Shiv Sena legislators in Guwahati with the rebel camp are "being held as prisoners". He said this to NDTV hours after his father, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, made an emotional appeal to the rebels to return.
"They are our people," Aaditya Thackeray said, "We are in touch with 15-16 of them."
Rebel leader Eknath Shinde has claimed support of 40 of the Sena's 55 MLAs. The Shinde camp wants the Shiv Sena to dump its partners — the NCP and Congress — to form a government with its "natural ideological ally", the BJP, instead.
Mr Shinde had criticised Aaditya Thackeray's recent statement that "scum" is going out of the Sena.
Mr Thackeray responded, "There are some who actually wanted to rebel and go out. And some have just been taken away and held as prisoners. The chief minister has appealed again; so, if it's a matter of the party, they should return and we can talk to each other."
On the fate of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, he said, "Our job is to serve the people. We will continue to do that. The government continues to function in full strength."
Earlier in the day, Uddhav Thackeray wrote to the rebel Sena MLAs shortly after mutiny leader Eknath Shinde said he will go to Mumbai and speak with the Maharashtra Governor. "You have been trapped in Guwahati for some days, I keep getting updates on you," the chief minister wrote, "Many of you are in touch with us... and you are Shiv Sena men at heart. Let us talk, we'll find a way."