On June 22, Uddhav Thackeray, the chief minister of Maharashtra, made the offer to resign at the request of any of the irate Shiv Sena MLAs. In a Facebook post, Thackeray pledged to resign as the leader of the Shiv Sena if any party MLA came forward and requested him to quit. He also ruled out the idea of working with the BJP to keep his government in power. To clear the air over the future of his ministry, Thackeray made an online appearance. Eknath Shinde, the leader of the Sena and minister for urban development, has asserted that he has the support of 36 party MLAs and nine independents to establish a separate group, which is leading the uprising against Thackeray. Shinde would be able to assert that his organization is the original Shiv Sena parliamentary party if he could back up his claims with statistics. The Shiv Sena is represented by 55 MLAs in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly. Thackeray highlighted that Sharad Pawar, the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), insisted that he be made the chief minister of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) administration. “I had no prior administrative experience. Thackeray claimed, “Sharad Pawar told me he wanted me to accept the CM’s office.” He added that he still had friendly contacts with Pawar and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi.
Thackeray attempted to put the initiative into Shinde’s hands with his passionate social media pitch. In exchange for agreeing to cooperate with the Congress and the NCP rather than the BJP as the rebel leader had demanded, he promised Shinde the position of chief minister. Shinde, however, tweeted her rejection of Thackeray’s offer. According to him, the Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks were the losers in the MVA, which solely benefited the Congress and the NCP. He said, “The moment has arrived to leave the unnatural union.” A letter addressed by Shinde to the deputy speaker of the Maharashtra assembly that was directed at the Congress and NCP was published hours before Thackeray’s speech. “We forged a [post-election] partnership with the Congress and NCP, who are on the other ideological polarity, despite having a pre-poll agreement with the BJP”. Shiv Sena supporters and voters are putting pressure on us to carry out this deed. Because of allegations of corruption against the administration, of which we are a constituent, there has been significant unhappiness among party members, according to Shinde’s letter.
Shinde is camped out in Guwahati with his devoted MLAs and has two choices. One is to reverse course and accept Thackeray’s offer to serve as chief minister of the MVA. Both leaders will benefit if he does so, since it will be a win-win scenario. The Congress and NCP have not yet taken a position on whether they would support Shinde as chief minister. Additionally, it is unclear what will happen to Shinde’s supporters in the legislature or whether the entire group can be included in the cabinet. Second, if the BJP forms a government, Shinde can join them and accept the position of deputy chief executive. In that situation, Thackeray can claim that he was the victim of a backstab by his own staff. The other scenario is that the BJP elects Shinde as chief minister and provides external backing for his administration in order to deflect criticism from Thackeray, the Congress, and the NCP, as well as avoid a reaction from irate Sena members.
According to a source close to the angry MLAs, if Shinde decides to reconcile with Thackeray, the BJP will likely respond negatively. The Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department are looking into many of these MLAs. “If the organisation gives up and the plan to overthrow the government fails, the BJP could be malicious in the future,” claims the source.