Checkmate

Checkmate
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Highlights

  • Shinde is camping with 37 rebel MLAs of the Sena
  • Floor test to decide if Uddhav has majority: Pawar
  • Government will continue under Uddhav: NCP chief

Mumbai: Shiv Sena is open to consider quitting Maharashtra's ruling MVA alliance if the rebel MLAs camping in Assam return to Mumbai within 24 hours and discuss their grievances with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, party MP Sanjay Raut said on Thursday, indicating a big shift in stand that surprised ally Congress, while the NCP said it wants the coalition government to complete its term.

Reaching out to rebel MLAs, Raut, who is the Shiv Sena's chief spokesperson, said the party's "doors are open" to them, and all issues raised by them can be resolved through talks. MVA government will continue under Uddhav Thackeray, Shared Pawar added. NCP leader Sharad Pawar said floor test in Assembly will decide if the government has majority.

Deputy CM Ajit Pawar of NCP says they will do everything to save the Uddhav government. The Shiv Sena will file an appeal with the Maharashtra Assembly Deputy Speaker seeking disqualification of around 15 rebel MLAs, sources said as the number of rebels camping out in Guwahati looked set to touch 40.

Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal said he has approved the appointment of Ajay Choudhary as the Shiv Sena's group leader in the House, replacing rebel legislator Shinde.

As political crisis in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, triggered by Shiv Sena cabinet minister Eknath Shinde's revolt three days ago, raged three more MLAs of the party left for Guwahati in the BJP-ruled Assam to join the rebel camp. Shinde is currently camping with 37 rebel MLAs of the Sena and nine independents in Guwahati.

Shinde said a "national party" has termed their revolt as "historic" and assured to provide all help to them

"The rebels who are out of Mumbai have raised the issue of Hindutva. If all these MLAs feel that Shiv Sena should walk out of the MVA, show guts to come back to Mumbai. You say you have issues only with the government and also say that you are true Shiv Sainiks...Your demand will be considered. But come and talk with Uddhav Thackeray," he added.

"Does Sena want to join hands with the BJP in Maharashtra? The motives of Shiv Sena are not yet clear," Chavan, a former chief minister, told reporters.

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