Hours before trust vote, ‘loyal’ Sena MLA walks into Shinde camp

Published on Jul 04, 2022 09:54 PM IST
Shiv Sena legislator Santosh Bangar, who had professed his loyalty to Uddhav Thackeray and even accompanied him to Raj Bhavan when he tendered his resignation as chief minister, jumped ship hours before the floor test in the assembly on Monday
Chief minister Eknath Shinde with Santosh Bangar and other MLAs at Vidhan Bhavan on Monday. Anshuman Poyrekar/ HT Photo
Chief minister Eknath Shinde with Santosh Bangar and other MLAs at Vidhan Bhavan on Monday. Anshuman Poyrekar/ HT Photo
By, Mumbai

Shiv Sena legislator Santosh Bangar, who had professed his loyalty to Uddhav Thackeray and even accompanied him to Raj Bhavan when he tendered his resignation as chief minister, jumped ship hours before the floor test in the assembly on Monday.

With the first-term MLA from Kalamnuri in Hingoli voting in favour of the Eknath Shinde- Devendra Fadnavis regime, the strength of Sena in the House has come down from 16 to 15. On the other hand, the number of legislators in the Shinde camp has risen to 40.

While speaking to his supporters and Shiv Sainiks in Hingoli recently, Bangar said, “[I told Thackeray], let your MLAs go wherever they want to, your Shiv Sainiks are with you.” He also broke down during the speech and came down on the rebel legislators.

But in the early hours of Monday, Bangar reached a five-star hotel at Backbay Reclamation where legislators from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shinde camp were accommodated.

“I did not call him [Bangar]. He called me at 1.30 am, and said that he had committed a mistake and wanted to join me. He also said there were three-four more [Sena legislators] who would like to follow suit,” said Shinde after the vote of confidence against his government was approved.

As Bangar voted for the Shinde-Fadnavis regime, he was booed by members from the opposition benches.

When asked about Bangar’s defection, Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said, “This question must be asked to Bangar... This is part of the attempt to subvert democracy.” He said that the voters would teach the defectors a lesson.

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