A night before Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's test of strength, one more Shiv Sena MLA belonging to team Thackeray joined him, adding to what was already a sure-shot majority. The MLA, Santosh Bangar, had publicly wept in support of Uddhav Thackeray a little over a week ago.
Santosh Bangar, late last night, went to the hotel in Mumbai where the new Chief Minister is staying with MLAs backing him, and officially defected to the rival camp.
Eknath Shinde easily won the trust vote today, days after his revolt that brought down the government led by Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena chief.
On June 24, when Uddhav Thackeray was fighting to keep MLAs from joining Eknath Shinde's rebel group, Santosh Bangar had posted a video addressing people in his constituency, weeping with folded hands in support of Mr Thackeray.
आज मतदारसंघांमध्ये परत आल्यानंतर उपस्थित शिवसैनिकांना संबोधित करताना अश्रू अनावर झाले....शेवटच्या श्वासापर्यंत आदरणीय शिवसेना पक्षप्रमुख #उद्धव_ठाकरे साहेबा सोबत. @ShivSena@AUThackeraypic.twitter.com/loMHpUI4cL— आमदार संतोष बांगर (@santoshbangar_) June 24, 2022
The video showed Mr Bangar making an tearful declaration of his allegiance to Mr Thackeray in the face of what he called "betrayal", and pleading with Eknath Shinde to come back. A supporter by his side wiped his cheek with a handkerchief.
"Balasaheb Thackeray, Uddhav-ji Thackeray tum aage badho, hum tumhare saath hain (Uddhav Thackeray, we are with you)," the MLA chanted, drawing applause and cheers from his audience.
This morning, Mr Bangar was hooted by the opposition when he voted with Eknath Shinde. Another MLA, Shyamsundar Shinde, also crossed over at the last minute.
Mr Shinde won the test with 164 out of 286 votes.
After winning over most Shiv Sena MLAs from team Thackeray, he took power last Friday with support from the BJP.