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Fighting for the ‘real’ Shiv Sena, a look at Uddhav Thackeray’s camp

The Shiv Sena faces a split with Eknath Shinde claiming the support of 37 MPs. Uddhav Thackeray, on the other hand, found the support of 16 MPs, stacking the numbers against him

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray left the official ‘Varsha’ residence and returned to his family home, Matoshree, on Wednesday evening amid the crisis. PTI

Maharashtra’s political crisis continues to play out in Mumbai and Guwahati.

It peaked on Thursday when 37 Shiv Sena MLAs from the Eknath Shinde faction sent a letter to Maharashtra Assembly Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal stating that Eknath Shinde will remain their group leader in the legislature.

With 37 MPs, former Thackeray family loyalist Eknath Shinde reached the number needed to split the party in the Assembly without breaking the anti-defection law. Shinde reached the desirable number of 37 when Deepak Kesarkar, Sada Sarvankar, Mangesh Kudalkar, Sanjay Rathod and Dadaji Bhuse joined the splinter group.

At the same time, party leader Shiv Sena and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called a meeting of MPs in Mumbai where it was revealed that he had the support of 16 MPs, tipping the balance in favor of the breakaway group. However, Sena spokesman and veteran leader Sanjay Raut claimed that 21 MPs from the splinter group had contacted them.

Also Read: Whether Eknath Shinde’s Rebellion Succeeds or Not, the Shiv Sena as We Know It Is Over

“Uddhav Thackeray will return to Varsha Bungalow very soon. 21 MPs from Guwahati have contacted us and when they return to Mumbai they will be with us,” Raut said.

Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut echoed the same sentiments, saying at least 18 MPs have contacted the party. “At least 18 MPs from Guwahati have contacted Shiv Sena leaders in Mumbai and several of them will be back soon,” the MP said.

As the crisis continues to unfold, here’s a look at those who continue to support Uddhav during the turmoil.

Sena supporters

Of the 16 MPs backing Uddhav Thackeray, his son, Aaditya Thackeray, MP for Worli in Mumbai, is the only minister.

Considered long time followers of the Thackeray family, Ajay Chaudhary – a Shivdi MP, Sanjay Potnis, Prakash Phaterpekar, Ramesh Korgaonkar, Rajan Salvi, Vaibhav Naik have given their support to Uddhav.

Besides these, two other MPs, who were originally part of Eknath Shinde’s group, also supported the Thackerays in the turmoil. Kailas Patil from Osmanabad and Nitin Deshmukh from Balapur had joined the Shinde group, but eventually found their way back. In fact, in the case of Deshmukh, he claimed to have been forcibly detained by the rebels.

Ravindra Waikar, who has shrewd understanding and influence within the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation of Mumbai, is also in Uddhav’s camp. Former Mumbai mayor Sunil Prabhu has also backed Uddhav Thackeray in the ongoing struggle.

Sunil Raut, who is the brother of Sanjay Raut, and twice MPP for Vikhroli in Mumbai, also backs Thackeray.

Other MPs from Uddhav’s camp are Rahul Patil, Santosh Bangar and Bhaskar Jadhav.

Action against the camp of Eknath

The Uddhav camp also on Thursday called for the disqualification of 12 lawmakers, including Eknath Shinde.

If all 12 lawmakers are disqualified, the party’s total membership will fall to 43 and Eknath Shinde will need the support of 29 MPs to form a separate group in the House.

Reacting to the news, Shinde said he and his supporters would not be intimidated by threats of disqualification. He also argued that the request was illegal.

He, in turn, claimed that his group was the real Shiv Sena and that action would be taken against MPs who did not join him for forming a separate group.

With contributions from agencies

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