son of the iconic Balasaheb, is fighting what seems to be a losing battle to
keep his party together. Torn down by a rebellion launched by Eknath Shinde,
one of Shiv Sena’s towering second-rung leaders, Thackeray is not willing to
give up just yet. On Friday, addressing a group of Shiv Sena leaders, the
Maharashtra chief minister said those who had once declared they would die for
Shiv Sena have now run away.
Eknath Shinde, 58,
was nowhere to be found after he allegedly orchestrated cross-voting in the
Rajya Sabha elections. He soon emerged at a hotel in Gujarat’s Surat where he
claimed he was gaining numbers to topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Addressing Shinde during his Friday address, Uddhav Thackeray said, “How far
can you go without using the names of Shiv Sena and Thackeray.”
With more that 40
out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs reportedly backing Eknath Shinde, the Maharashtra
government is on the brink of collapse. On Friday, Uddhav and his son Aaditya
Thackeray, Maharashtra’s minister for tourism and environment, met district
heads of the Shiv Sena. The meeting was aimed at making an emotional appeal to the
party’s grassroot workers at a time when Eknath Shinde is reportedly on his way
Uddhav was inaccessible to MLAs at times, the Maharashtra CM spoke of his spine
troubles for which he underwent a surgery recently. “My body was aching, from
my head and neck to my feet. Some people thought I would not recover…My eyes
were not opening, but I didn’t care about myself.”
Sanjay Raut, Shiv
Sena MP and the party’s national spokesperson, issued a threat to the rebel
MLAs on Friday when he said: “They (Shinde and his allies) have taken the wrong
step. We had given them time to return to the fold. Now, we are ready to fight.
We dare them to come to Mumbai.” Raut added that beyond legal options were also
being considered and protests may spill out on the streets.