For Uddhav Thackeray, 10-Minute Call With Rebel Eknath Shinde: 10 Facts

Eknath Shinde is a prominent Sena leader in Thane

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had a 10-minute phone conversation with rebel minister Eknath Shinde, at the center of the new political crisis in the state. Sources said there was no breakthrough.

Here’s your 10-point guide to this big story:

  1. Sources said Eknath Shinde – who decamped last night for Surat, along with at least 21 other MLAs – demanded that the Sena restore its alliance with the BJP and rule the state.

  2. Uddhav Thackeray had asked him to reconsider and return to the fold, sources said. Mr Shinde claimed that so far, he has not taken any decision or signed any document, and that he has taken this step for the betterment of the party.

  3. Mr Shinde is sheltering in place at a resort in Surat in Gujarat. Two Sena leaders met the sulking Mr Shinde for two hours at the hotel this evening. The fact that the G-22 he leads is being hosted in a state ruled by the BJP reveals the behind-the-scenes moves of the rebellion. The BJP president in Maharashtra, Chandrakant Patil, said that the party is open to forming a government with Mr Shinde.

  4. Mr Thackeray held an emergency meeting this afternoon but the less-than-robust attendance meant it was not a significant show of strength; he has removed Mr Shinde as Chief Whip, an important party post; for his part, Mr Shinde has edited his Twitter bio, removing a reference to his Shiv Sena role.

  5. Mr Thackeray’s government, consisting of three parties – the Sena, the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP – was put together in 2019 by Mr Pawar. Amid speculating about his own role and whether he may have played a part in the crisis, Mr Pawar said that the crisis is “an internal matter of the Sena” but added that he remains fully committed to the three-party government.

  6. Mr Pawar also said he will fly to Mumbai this evening to meet Mr Thackeray; earlier today, he was a principal at the large Opposition gathering in Delhi which decided on Yashwant Sinha, former Finance Minister, as its candidate for President of India.

  7. The crisis in Maharashtra reportedly owes much to Devendra Fadnavis, the former Prime Minister from the BJP, who is in Delhi today and met with party boss Amit Shah. Mr Fadnavis is seen as having facilitated Mr Shinde’s relocation to Surat.

  8. The crisis, however, was reportedly triggered by a reprimand from Mr Thackeray to Mr Shinde last night after Sena MLAS cross-voted for the BJP in key elections yesterday. Their action meant that the BJP won five of a total of 10 seats (its own numbers entitled the party to four seats; the cross-voting allowed a bonus seat).

  9. Mr Shinde has however been smarting over the increasing importance within the Sena of Sanjay Raut, who is seen as a key aide of Mr Thackeray. Today as well, it was Mr Raut who led the PR campaign for the Sena, describing the crisis as one that would be defused and Mr Shinde as “a Sena loyalist.”

  10. To displace Mr Thackeray and win a vote of confidence – should it come to that – the BJP needs 37 MLAs apart from its own 106. Without the G-22, Mr Thackeray’s government is perilously close to the majority mark at 133 (the Sena has 34 without the G-22)


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