Maharashtra political crisis: What has happened so far
The ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra continues to peak with rebel Eknath Shinde, who remains the leader of the Shiv Sena legislature party. All the 37 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who are currently camping in Guwahati on Thursday sent a letter to Maharashtra Assembly’s deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal stating that Shinde will remain their group leader in legislature.
Let’s look at some of the developments and plot twists that have taken place so far:
- Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s aide Ravindra Phatak was flown to Surat as a mediator between the state head and the rebel group, however, in a shocking turn of events, Phatak switched sides and has joined the Shinde-led faction.
- As of now, Thackeray only has 13 MLAs with him while 42 MLAs are present with rebel leader Shinde.
- Assam Chief Minister and BJP leader told the press on Thursday that he does not know if Maharashtra MLAs are residing in his state. He added that Assam has several good hotels and “anyone can come there and stay”. The MLAs who switched their loyalty from the Sena to Shinde have been camping out at the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati.
- Amid this political turmoil, Congress has sided with Shiv Sena and senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday slammed the BJP and the central government for “destabilizing a stable” regime in Maharashtra. He also equated the current political crisis in the western state to that of the forthcoming presidential elections.
- MLA Nitin Deshmukh on Thursday alleged that Shinde’s faction abducted him and took him to Surat. Upon finding out that “there was a plot against our government”, he requested Shinde to allow him to return to Mumbai. In an attempt to reject Deshmukh’s claims, the rebels released two photos, one of which was of him sitting with other MLAs in a chartered plane and in the second he can be seen posing for a selfie.
- Shinde has pressed his demand of Sena pulling out of the Maha Vikas Aghadi, all the while claiming to remain loyal to the Hindutva ideology and party founder Balasaheb Thackeray.
- The Bharatiya Janata Party is being accused of running another “Operation Lotus” as they allegedly did in Karnataka in 2019 and Madhya Pradesh in 2020.
- Some Sena workers loyal to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray earlier on Thursday demanded action against those who did not attend the 5 pm meeting called by the party on Wednesday.