Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Monday defended his "living corpses" remark against the rebel MLAs stating that it was a manner of speaking in Maharashtra and said he did not want to hurt anyone's sentiment.
Speaking to the media persons, Mr Raut said, "Their bodies are alive, but their soul is dead, it is a way of speaking in Maharashtra. What wrong did I say? Those who stay in a party for 40 years and then run away, their souls are dead, they do not have anything left in them", these are the lines said by Dr Ram Manohar Lohia. I didn't want to hurt anyone's sentiment, I just said the truth."
"I tweeted a video of the speech of Gulabrao Patil where he is talking about those who change their fathers. What he said is correct for all those sitting in Guwahati. My tweet is for people sitting in Guwahati. Patil said in his speech. People eat, drink and enjoy with the party and then change their father, we aren't like them," added Mr Raut.
The Shiv Sena leader further said that Eknath Shinde is one of the closest to him and requested him to return to Maharashtra.
"Uday Samant is close. Eknath Shinde was one of our closest, we talk with each other in our home. We had shared happiness and sorrow. This is now a street fight as well as a legal fight. Why are you sitting in Assam? Floods are there, and hundreds of people have died there. Why are you sitting there, you should come back. They go to Surat then Guwahati where the Central agencies gave them protection. Maharashtra police is capable of security please come here. How can you join hands with Mehbooba Mufti, how can you join hands with those who planted RDX? ED and CBI won't give you vote people gave you vote," he further said.
On members of Parliament contacting Mr Shinde, Mr Raut said, "Most members of parliament are contacting Eknath Shinde, it was no big deal they also contacting us."
According to an MNS leader, Mr Shinde spoke to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray who was discharged from hospital last evening, about the recent political situation in the state. When asked about the development, Mr Raut said: "If MNS got the CM chair, then must go for MNS. They can also go with AIMIM but they forgot what Shiv Sena did for them."
He further said that if a floor test is conducted they will win and he has faith in the MVA government and Sharad Pawar.
Notably, former minister and Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar, who is now in Mr Shinde's camp, had said that the rebel MLAs were ready to face the floor test in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly at any time, but first recognition should be given to Mr Shinde's faction.
Mr Shinde has called a meeting later today to discuss the future course of action.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is slated to hear today the plea of the Shiv Sena rebels against the disqualification proceedings and the appointment of Ajay Choudhari as the Legislative Party leader.
The plea also challenges the appointment of Ajay Chaudhary as the Shiv Sena's legislative leader in the House in place of Mr Shinde.
The petitioner, Mr Shinde has sought to issue direction to Deputy Speaker to not take any action in the disqualification petition under Rule 6 of MLA Defection Rules seeking disqualification of the rebel MLAs and also not to take any action on the same until the resolution for removal of the Deputy Speaker is decided.
The Deputy Speaker, who is in charge of the House in the absence of the Speaker and has issued the notice dated June 25, 2022, in the disqualification petition against the petitioner.
However, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray claimed that on May 20, Uddhav Thackeray had asked Mr Shinde to become chief minister if he wanted to, but at that time he did drama and now just a month later, he rebelled.
Interestingly, the Mr Shinde faction named their group 'Shiv Sena Balasaheb'.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)