Maharashtra Crisis: Uddhav Thackeray asked the rebels not to fall for anyone's claims.
Uddhav Thackeray, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, wrote to rebel Shiv Sena MLAs today, urging them to talk to him in person, shortly after rebel Eknath Shinde said he will go to Mumbai and speak with the Maharashtra Governor.
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"You have been trapped in Guwahati for some days, I keep getting updates on you. Many of you are in touch with us... and you are Shiv Sena men at heart. Let us talk, we'll find a way," Uddhav Thackeray said in the letter to the rebels staying at a luxury hotel in Guwahati since last week.
"I want to appeal to you - time is still not lost. Please come, sit with me, remove all doubts from the minds of Shiv Sainiks and the public, then we can find a way out. We can sit together and find a way out." The letter comes a day after the rebels scored time till July 12 to act without being disqualified.
Mr Thackeray, who has been reduced to a minority in the party founded by his father Bal Thackeray, asked the rebels not to fall for any false narrative on the Sena neglecting its MLAs and its core ideology. "The respect that the Shiv Sena has given you, you will not get anywhere else. If you come, talk face-to-face, we can find a way out. As the Shiv Sena chief and head of the family, I am worried about you even now. Please come forward and speak, we will find a way," he pleaded.
Eknath Shinde, the leader of the stunning revolt against party boss Uddhav Thackeray, claims he is the real Shiv Sena with at least 40 Shiv Sena MLAs with him. Mr Thackeray's letter emerged shortly after Mr Shinde said he would go to Mumbai and speak with Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, indicating he is ready to launch his next play - a bid for power. "I have 50 people with me in Guwahati, they have come of their own accord and for Hindutva. We all will go to Mumbai soon," Mr Shinde told reporters.
Mr Shinde, reports suggest, may fly to Mumbai or Delhi for consultations with the BJP, which is seen to be the enabler of the revolt that has seen Uddhav Thackeray lose most of his party MLAs to the rival camp.
The BJP's Devendra Fadnavis, a former Maharashtra Chief Minister, is in Delhi, sources say. Mr Shinde had been flown by chartered plane from Guwahati to Gujarat's Vadodara after midnight last Friday for a meeting with Mr Fadnavis and BJP's top strategist, Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
"I am not leaving the Shiv Sena. I am the real Shiv Sena," Mr Shinde told reporters, rubbishing the claims of team Thackeray that some 15-20 MLAs were in touch with them and wanted to return to Mumbai.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court gave Mr Shinde and 15 rebels time till July 12 to respond to notices to disqualify them. The rebels cannot be disqualified till then. Sources suggest Mr Shinde and the rebels may be inclined to move for a no-confidence motion in the Maharashtra assembly before the court's deadline.
The Supreme Court refused to pass orders on Team Thackeray's request that no floor test be allowed till July 12. "If anything illegal happens, you can always move this court," it said. Sources say Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari may ask Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority sometime this week.
BJP leaders reportedly met at Devendra Fadnavis's home in Mumbai to discuss the arithmetic required to form a government in a tie-up with the Shinde Sena faction. "We are open to the proposal of government formation from Eknath Shinde," said party leader Sudhir Mungantiwar.