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Rebels have to ‘answer whether betrayal is okay’, says Aaditya Thackeray, pass ‘morality test’

Maharashtra minister & CM Uddhav Thackeray's son was talking to ThePrint a day before Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari Wednesday ordered a trust vote for MVA govt to prove its majority.

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Mumbai: Shiv Sena rebels have to first pass the “morality test” before the floor test in the assembly for “betraying” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra minister and the CM’s son Aaditya Thackeray told ThePrint in an interview Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari sent a letter to the state assembly secretary to conduct a special session of the assembly for the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to seek a trust vote to prove its majority. The MVA is a coalition of the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.

The letter comes after BJP leader and leader of opposition in the Maharashtra assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, along with other state BJP leaders met the Governor at Raj Bhavan late Tuesday night to raise the request for the MVA government to prove its majority in the assembly.

Speaking to ThePrint a couple of hours before Fadnavis’ meeting with the Governor, Aaditya said, “There is simmering anger among people for the betrayal. There is also a sympathy for what has happened. The party chief, who is also the CM, has been betrayed by some people in his lowest times in all circumstances he faced”.

Asked about the floor test, he said that it is the “morality test” that the rebels will have to first pass. “They have to answer whether such a betrayal is ok? If you can live with yourself, then so be it.”

A group of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, led by minister Eknath Shide, has been camping in Guwahati — capital of BJP-ruled Assam — creating turmoil not just within the party, but also a crisis for the MVA government, owing to its reduced strength in the assembly.

While there have been speculations about the rebels merging with the BJP or the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, so far the Shinde faction has publicly stuck to the stance that they are the “true” Shiv Sena and do not need to merge with anybody.

The Shiv Sena led by CM Uddhav Thackeray has filed a petition before the deputy speaker of the state assembly seeking the cancellation of membership of 12 rebel MLAs, including Eknath Shinde, for “not attending” a legislative party meeting.

The Supreme Court Monday gave the rebels time till 12 July to respond to the notice.

Also read: Not Shinde vs Uddhav, Shiv Sena has an identity crisis. Choose Hindutva or get a makeover

’15-16 people want to come back’

Though one of the MLAs in the Shinde camp, Uday Samant, claimed Tuesday that none of them were in touch with anyone from the Shiv Sena in Mumbai, Aaditya told ThePrint that the party was in touch with 15-16 of the rebels.

“We know 15-16 people there who want to come back, but they are held captive there with five star security and multiple things,” Aaditya told ThePrint.

He also reiterated Shiv Sena’s maintained stand that neither will they hold back their MLAs, nor will they stop anyone from returning.

“If someone is reading the script, we can’t help it, but if people really want to come back (they can)… and the people who are in touch will come,” said Aaditya, said with conviction

Earlier Tuesday, CM Uddhav Thackeray took to Twitter to ask the rebels to return to the party.

“We can sit together & resolve the matter. As party & your family head, I am with you,” the CM wrote.

In response, Shinde tweeted, “One one hand your son and spokesperson can call Balasaheb’s Shiv Sainiks pigs, buffaloes, filth, dogs and corpses and on the other hand, there is an attempt to unite the same MLAs to save the anti-Hindu MVA government. What does this mean?”

Aaditya, who has been meeting party members in a bid to galvanise them, was quoted as saying in a Yuva Sena meeting that “The dirt has gone away. Now we can do good work”.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: Uddhav Thackeray’s failing trapeze act on secularism-Hindutva has lessons for other parties


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