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Will quit as CM if you want but tell me directly, defiant Uddhav tells rebel Shiv Sena MLAs

Hours after rebel MLAs pass resolution proclaiming Eknath Shinde as the leader of Sena’s legislative party, Uddhav Thackeray seeks to portray himself as a leader betrayed.

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Mumbai: Signalling his intent to fight it out with the Shiv Sena rebels, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said Wednesday that he was willing to quit and move out of his official residence ‘Varsha’. However, he added, the rebel MLAs would have to talk to him directly and ask him to step down.

In a message broadcast live on social media, Sena chief Thackeray also dismissed rebel leader Eknath Shinde’s allegations that he had moved away from his father Bal Thackeray’s core ideology of Hindutva. 

In an address that seemed to be aimed more at his party’s cadre than at rebels — who, led by Shinde, are said to be in Guwahati — Thackeray sought to project himself as a selfless leader who had been betrayed by his “own people”.

“I am not power hungry and won’t want to stick to the chair if you don’t want me to,” Thackeray said. He claimed he was hurt that it wasn’t allies — Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress — but “my own people” who left. 

“I’m hearing that they don’t want me,” he said. “I am ready to resign but you need to tell me that face to face. And if you feel ashamed to come face to face, then call me and tell me. But talk to me directly.”

“I will keep my resignation ready. The moment one of you tells me that you don’t want me, I will hand over my resignation to you and you submit it at the Raj Bhavan. But come and talk to me.”

Thackeray’s address comes hours after 34 MLAs — including four Independent candidates — sent a signed resolution to the Maharashtra governor, proclaiming Shinde as the leader of the Sena’s legislative party.


Also Read: Who’s Eknath Shinde? Former auto driver threatening to topple MVA, become ‘Maharashtra’s Scindia’


‘Discontent’

Hours before Thackeray went live, the rebel camp passed a resolution, accessed by ThePrint, in Guwahati that said there was “enormous discontent among the cadre of our party viz. Shiv Sena for forming the government with NCP and Indian National Congress who are ideologically opposed to our party”. 

“The ideology of our party leader Late Balasaheb Thackeray was to give clean and honest government to the people of Maharashtra and also without compromising on the principle of Hindutva, which was defeated at the first day itself by aligning with the opposing ideologies,” the resolution claimed.   

The resolution — also sent to the governor of Maharashtra, deputy speaker of the assembly, and the assembly secretary — also said that they had unanimously chosen rebel Sena leader Bharat Gogawale as the chief whip.  

The resolution said that voters had given the mandate to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the 2019 assembly elections. Since the formation of the MVA government in November 2019, the MLAs have been humiliated before voters, it added.

It claimed that the Sena leadership had compromised on the party’s founding principles for the sake of power in the last two-and-a-half years. There’s great dissatisfaction in the party’s rank and file since two NCP leaders — former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik — have been jailed in connection with cases of alleged money laundering, the resolution added.

Uddhav, however, thanked NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for their support.  

“Why are you doing all this? Who’s losing in all of this? I am hurt that you’re using Shiv Sena to harm me,” he said in his address. We’ve faced many challenges before even without power. We’ll have to fight again. So I am not scared. I’ll face it.”

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)


Also Read: 22 FIRs, 34 days in jail for 1 post on ‘Pawar’ — bizarre case of Marathi actor Ketaki Chitale


 

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