In Sena vs Sena, Uddhav Thackeray "Removes" Eknath Shinde As "Leader"

Mr Thackeray said that the Chief Minister-designate Mr Shinde has been indulging in "anti-party activities" and voluntarily gave up his membership.

Eknath Shinde never called himself Paksha Pramukh (party chief).


In the heated battle over claims to the Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray on Friday removed newly appointed Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde from the post of Shiv Sena leader in the party organisation. In a letter issued by the party, Mr Thackeray said that Mr Shinde has been indulging in "anti-party activities" and has voluntarily given up his membership. 

"In exercise of the powers vested in me as the Shivsena Paksha Pramukha, I remove you from the post of Shivsena Leader in the party organisation," the letter signed by Uddhav Thackeray said.

While Mr Shinde has claimed that he is the leader of Shiv Sena and the Thackeray camp is a minority, he never called himself Paksha Pramukh (party chief). Mr Thackeray is technically still the party chief.

Earlier, Mr Shinde sent out a subtle message positioning himself as the political heir to Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. He changed the profile picture of his Twitter handle to one with Balasaheb Thackeray, a fiery Hindutva icon and the mascot of Maratha pride.

The Shinde faction has declared in the Supreme Court that they are the real Shiv Sena. Arguing that Mr Thackeray has diluted the Hindutva ideology of his father Bal Thackeray by forming a coalition with Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, he called it an "unnatural alliance".

In a direct attack on Uddhav Thackeray, rebel Sena minister Gulabrao Patil had earlier said Mr Thackeray has left 52 MLAs of his own party as well as his official residence but is not ready to leave NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Uddhav Thackeray resigned as the Chief Minister on Thursday after the Supreme Court refused to stay the trust vote ordered by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Soon after Mr Shinde's swearing-in, Mr Thackeray questioned the BJP's decision to install a "so-called Shiv Sainik" as Maharashtra Chief Minister when it did not keep its 2019 promise of rotating the Chief Minister's post.

Addressing a press conference at Shiv Sena Bhavan, Mr Thackeray also asked the BJP not to betray Mumbai like it "betrayed" him.