A faltering Uddhav echoes Balasaheb, says ‘will step down if Sena asks’
- Uddhav Thackeray made an emotional appeal to Shiv Sainiks Wednesday
- The Maharashtra CM is facing a rebellion from partyman Eknath Shinde
- Shinde wants Shiv Sena to form government in alliance with the BJP
Uddhav Thackeray, Balasaheb Thackeray’s son, went back to his father’s words when he saw a rebellion brewing within the Shiv Sena has the power to engulf the Maharashtra government, the Shiv Sena and the position of the Thackeray family in Maharashtra polity.
In 1992, Bal Thackeray, writing an article for party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ stated, “Even if one Shiv Sainik stands against me and my family and says I left the Shiv Sena because you or you hurt us, I am not prepared to continue as Shiv Sena chief for one moment.”
The statement had its desired effect. Shiv Sainiks thronged ‘Matoshri’, Bal Thackeray’s home, and the move led to him consolidating his grip within his party to an extent that he wouldn’t see another rebellion in 20 years.
On Wednesday, faced with the rebellion from Eknath Shinde, a long-time Shiv Sainik, Uddhav Thackeray echoed his father’s comments. In a statement issued through Facebook Live, the Maharashtra chief minister said he would announce his resignation as chief minister.
Invoking the loyalty of Shiv Sainiks, Uddhav said he would resign if party MLAs told him to step down face-to-face. He added that he would take measures to address grievances about his style of functioning. He said that he is not one to hanker after a post and that he only took the CM’s chair because the NCP and Congress asked him to.
About claims that he was inaccessible, Uddhav Thackeray said he was unavailable only on account of his spine surgery and the long recovery period. The Sena chief’s emotional address drew in supporters to his home after he left the chief minister’s residence.
However, the real-world impact of Uddhav invoking Balasaheb remains to be seen. As of Thursday morning, Eknath Shinde seems well on his way to pull off a successful rebellion. The rebel camp claims to have 36 MLAs on its side, although the claim about numbers have changed every hour. The Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs in the Maharashtra Assembly. The BJP has 106 and needs 37 more to form government.