Guwahati: Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde along with four dissident lawmakers visited the famous Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati on Wednesday morning and offered prayers.
Shinde and other rebel Shiv Sena MPs have been camping here in a hotel for over a week now, sparking a political crisis in Maharashtra’s Vikas Aghadi government.
Shinde, who claims the support of more than 50 MPs, said on Tuesday he would soon return to Mumbai and “could carry forward the legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray”.
“I will return to Mumbai tomorrow. I prayed for the welfare of the people of Maharashtra here at the temple,” Shinde said after visiting the temple.
The rebel leader also said he will take part in the ground test at the Maharashtra Assembly. “I will participate in the ground test and follow all the protocols,” he said.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asked him to face a ground test and prove majority by calling an extraordinary session of the state legislature at 11 a.m. June 30. According to the letter, the ground test should conclude by 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Assembly Opposition Leader Devendra Fadnavis along with 8 independent MPs on Tuesday submitted a letter to the Governor of Maharashtra demanding an immediate ground test.
“We have delivered a letter to the Governor of Maharashtra demanding an immediate ground test,” Devendra Fadnavis said.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had on Tuesday called on rebel MPs to come for talks. “Don’t fall prey to anyone’s missteps. The honor bestowed upon you by Shiv Sena cannot be found anywhere. If you show up and talk, we’ll sort things out. As the leader of the Shiv Sena party and the head of the family, I am always worried about you. Come here for a dialogue,” he said.
The political standoff in Maharashtra between the Shiv Sena and the rebel group led by Eknath Shinde has now reached the Supreme Court. Pleas filed by the dissident camp challenge the disqualification proceedings against Shinde and 15 other rebel MPs.
“Rebel MPs from Maharashtra are likely to stay more days at Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati, Assam. The hotel was booked until July 5 and the reservation can now be extended as needed,” sources said on Monday.
On Monday, a separate plea was filed by Shinde in the Supreme Court regarding the safety of lawmakers who challenged party leader and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. A bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala heard the pleas on Monday.
“It’s the victory of the Hindutva of Balasaheb Thackeray and the ideas of Anand Dighe,” Eknath Shinde tweeted after the Supreme Court postponed the disqualification proceedings for rebel MPs until July 11.
Notably, the Shiv Sena’s national executive meeting on June 25 passed six resolutions giving Maharashtra chief minister and party chairman Uddhav Thackeray the absolute right to take action against the rebels to bring the revolt within the party under control. The meeting was called in the wake of the Sena MLA Eknath Shinde rebellion, which not only destabilized the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state but also posed a risk of the Thackerays losing control of the party.