"If You Have The Guts...": Aaditya Thackeray's Open Challenge To Rebels

Maharashtra crisis: Aaditya Thackeray asked the rebels to "defect and fight", in an open challenge to the MLAs, led by Eknath Shinde, camping in BJP-ruled Assam.

Aaditya Thackeray had earlier termed the Maharashtra crisis as a battle between truth and lies.

Mumbai:

Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray has dared the Shiv Sena rebels, led by minister Eknath Shinde, to quit the party and face elections, amid a worsening political crisis in the state.

He asked the rebels to "defect and fight", in an open challenge to the MLAs camping in BJP-ruled Assam as the revolt against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray continued for almost a week.

"If you have guts, leave Shiv Sena - defect and fight. If you think what we have done is wrong, Uddhav (Thackeray) ji's leadership is wrong and we all are wrong, then resign and face elections. We are ready," he said.

"You see the people standing here - they will not be able to campaign here in Maharashtra," said Mr Thackeray, addressing supporters in Mumbai yesterday.

He had earlier termed the crisis as a battle between truth and lies. "We will not forget the betrayal done by rebel Shiv Sena MLAs. We (Shiv Sena) will win for sure," he said.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi government is on the brink of collapse with Mr Shinde, a heavyweight from Maharashtra's Thane district, claiming the support of nearly 40 Sena MLAs.

The rebel faction had termed Sena's alliance with Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress "unnatural", and demanded that the party, founded by Balasaheb Thackeray, restore its alliance with the BJP.

The Sena has so far sought the disqualification of 16 of its rebel MLAs, including Mr Shinde, and notices have been served to them.

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