Eknath Shinde (right) has welcomed the rebel NCP MLAs.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has no plans of stepping down and there is no tumult in the Shiv Sena over Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) rebel Ajit Pawar and his followers joining the government, the party said on Thursday.
Addressing a news conference a day after the Chief Minister cancelled all his appointments and called an urgent party meeting at his official residence in the evening, Shiv Sena leader Uday Samant dismissed reports of a churn in the party.
"We are not resignation givers but takers. His leadership is to take everyone along and be patient. Yesterday, all the MLAs, MPs have reposed faith in Eknath Shinde... all this (reports of discontent) is being done to malign Eknath Shinde," Mr Samant said.
"Some reports said differences had emerged between two MLAs. Some said that one of the MLAs said that we should not go with NCP. But nothing of that sort happened," he said.
"There is no need for anyone to go anywhere. The current government has a comfortable majority with 200 MLAs," Mr Samant added.
The Shiv Sena leader, a member of the faction that broke away from the then Uddhav Thackeray-led outfit last year, said Ajit Pawar's move had cleared them of "gaddar" (traitor) and "khoke" (crore) taunts, referring to jibes that have beset the rebel camp them since they switched sides.
"Now it is clear that Ajit Pawar joining us means that last time, the last coalition (Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress) was not working well," Mr Samant said.
Speaking about Wednesday's meeting, he said, "All MLAs and MPs of Shiv Sena were present yesterday. We discussed what needs to be done for the upcoming elections. We also discussed how we can win more seats."
The comments follow reports that Shiv Sena MLAs supporting Eknath Shinde had been uncomfortable with Ajit Pawar's entry into Maharashtra's ruling coalition, pointing out that Sena founder Bal Thackeray would never have associated with the Nationalist Congress Party.
The argument was seen as a prickly one for Mr Shinde, who split Shiv Sena alleging that Uddhav Thackeray has deviated from his father's ideology and claimed Bal Thackeray's legacy. Alliance with Sharad Pawar's party and the Congress was his biggest grouse against the former Chief Minister.
The Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena has been rubbing it in. On Monday, the party tweeted a video of Mr Shinde's earlier statements, captioning it "What will you say now?". The MLAs were also said to be displeased about the space in the ministry shrinking after NCP's entry.