Uddhav eyes 'Pawar punch'

Uddhav eyes Pawar punch

CM dares rebels to win elections sans Sena, Thackeray name

Mumbai: NCP president Sharad Pawar on Friday evening met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray at the latter's residence amid the political crisis caused by Sena leader Eknath Shinde's rebellion. State NCP president Jayant Patil and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar accompanied Pawar as he arrived at `Matoshree', Uddhav's private residence in Bandra area.

Thackeray on Friday dared them to win the elections "without using the name of Shiv Sena or the Thackerays.

A day before, Ajit Pawar had said the NCP will do all it can to save the ruling alliance of the Sena, NCP and ongress. Sharad Pawar had made it clear that the fate of the coalition government will be decided on the floor of the Maharashtra Assembly and not at a hotel in Guwahati where Shinde and his supporters are camping. Meanwhile as per reports, Uddhav has called a party meet on Saturday afternoon, reports ndtv.com Former Lok Sabha Secretary General P.D.T. Achary said: "As far as the magic number (two-thirds of the members of the legislature party)... if the group of 37 MLAs decide to merge with the BJP in Maharashtra, the magic will work. If not, then the magic will be lost and they are liable to be disqualified. Only a merger with the BJP will save them (from the anti-defection law)."

Uddhav had reached out to the functionaries of his party, which is currently battling a rebellion, and sought to allay fears surrounding the survival of his political outfit and the MVA government. The Sena has been witnessing the rebellion within the party after Eknath Shinde broke away and formed a rebel group with the support of several legislators. Shinde is currently camping with at least 38 rebel MLAs of the Sena and 10 independents in Guwahati. He has claimed that the faction led by him is the "real Shiv Sena" and that it has the support of 50 MLAs including independence. In his virtual address to the party's district unit chiefs and 'sampark pramukhs' assembled at the Shiv Sena Bhavan at Dadar in central Mumbai, CM Thackeray said he may have vacated the chief minister's official residence, but his determination is intact. "Despite the rebellions that the party has faced earlier, it came to power twice. I may have left 'Varsha', the chief minister's official residence, but not my determination," he said. Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde has said that he has the support of over 50 MLAs in his revolt against party chief Uddhav Thackeray, his assertion coming a day after 37 rebel MLAs camping in Guwahati sent a letter to Maharashtra Assembly's Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal to state that Shinde will remain their group leader in the legislature. Nearly 40 of them are from the Shiv Sena," Shinde told NDTV from BJP-ruled Assam on Friday."Those who have faith in our role will join us. We want to carry forward Balasaheb Thackeray's ideology, those who like it will come," Shinde said, insisting the rebels have not left Balasaheb Thackeray's Shiv Sena. On Thursday evening, Shinde sent a letter to the deputy speaker, signed by the Sena MLAs who are with him in Guwahati. The letter also informed him that Sena MLA Bharat Gogawale had been appointed chief whip of the legislature party in place of Sunil Prabhu.

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