'Dance of monkeys...': AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi's take on Maharashtra crisis

Updated on Jun 25, 2022 06:51 PM IST

Maharashtra crisis erupted Wednesday after rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde fled with MLAs from his party and independent lawmakers to BJP-ruled Gujarat.

AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi in Hyderabad on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. (PTI Photo)(PTI)
AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi in Hyderabad on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. (PTI Photo)(PTI)

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday offered his (unflattering) take on the unfolding crisis in Maharashtra, calling those involved 'monkeys' and describing the events as 'a dance of monkeys... jumping from one branch to another'. He said he would not involve himself or his party in what is an internal matter of the Shiv Sena and the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

"Let Maha Vikas Aghadi deliberate on this matter... it is their problem. Why should I go there and say something? We are keeping an eye on the unfolding drama..." the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president told ANI.

Pressed to comment on the situation, Owaisi shrugged: "It looks like a dance of monkeys. They are acting like monkeys jumping from one branch to another."

The crisis erupted Wednesday after rebel Sena leader Eknath Shinde decamped with MLAs from his party and independent lawmakers to BJP-ruled Gujarat.

Over the past four days Shinde's numbers have grown to 47 - 38 Sena MLAs, nine independent - enough to claim control of his party; earlier today the camp said their group would be called 'Shiv Sena (Balasaheb)' - a reference to the late party patriarch who is chief minister Uddhav Thackeray's father.

That triggered a roaring response; "I won't interfere in their (the rebels') matters… but no one should use Balasaheb Thackeray's name," Uddhav said.

Thackeray met with the party leaders this afternoon and later MP Sanjay Raut said: "… if they want to seek votes, they must do so in their fathers' names."

Shinde's camp responded with threats of (more) legal action; rebel MLA Deepak Kesarkar said, "Recognition should be given… if it isn't we will go to court."

In the ever-dramatic back-and-forth between the two camps, the deputy speaker of the Maharashtra assembly has also sent a disqualification notice to 16 Sena rebel MLAs, including Shinde, based on a complaint by the party.

READ: 16 rebel Sena MLAs served disqualification notice, to reply by Monday

The notice itself was sent after one by the rebels to the deputy speaker challenging his authority was rejected - by himself.

In other rounds fired in the 'dance of monkeys', Shinde dashed off a letter to Thackeray, accusing him of withdrawing security to rebel MLAs' homes. Walse-Patil swiftly denied reports that any cover had been withdrawn.

This was shortly before Sena workers attacked the Pune office of a rebel MLA.

Raut chipped in, first warning the rebels to 'beware of overconcern for money, or position' and then urging them to return before 'the streets are on fire'.

Shinde and his MLAs are camped out at a luxury hotel in BJP-ruled Assam.

Thackeray and his 16 MLAs are in Mumbai, scrambling to prevent both a split in the party and the break-up of the Sena-led MVA government.

He has, so far, been firmly backed by allies Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, while the BJP has said it is in 'wait-and-watch' mode.

With input from ANI

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