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Shiv Sena issues whip to all MLAs for a meeting, Eknath Shinde calls it illegal and appoints own chief whip, claims support of 46 MLAs

Eknath Shinde said, "We have a strength of more MLAs than required. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has to decide if he is going to resign or not."

Amid the political crisis Shiv Sena is facing in Maharashtra, the party’s chief whip Sunil Prabhu issued a notice to all the Shiv Sena MLAs to be present in an important meeting that will be held at 5 pm today (22nd June 2022). The notice said that if any MLA fails to attend the meeting, the party will consider that the MLA has quit the party voluntarily. The meeting will take place at chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s residence.

The notice adds that if someone remains absent from the meeting without proper reason and prior information, they should keep in mind that action will be initiated to cancel their membership as per provisions of the constitution of the party. It is notable that around 40 Shiv Sena MLAs are currently in Guwahati, and it is unlikely that they will attend the 5 PM meeting. The rebel Shiv Sena MLAs along with some independent MLAs reached Guwahati from Surat early morning today, and are staying at 5-star hotel Radisson Blu.

However, rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde has rejected tjhis notice issued by the party whip. Calling the notice legally invalid, Shinde appointed his own chief whip for his faction of Shiv Sena.

In response to this notice, Eknath Shinde, who currently has more than two-thirds of the MLAs of Shiv Sena with him, has tweeted that MLA Bharat Gogavale is appointed as the new whip of the Shiv Sena MLAs. He tweeted, “MLA Bharat Gogavale is appointed as the chief whip of the Shiv Sena legislative party. therefore the orders issued about the MLA meeting today by Sunil Prabhu are illegal.”

Eknath Shinde has the support of more than two-thirds of the Shiv Sena MLAs. He said in Guwahati that he now has a strength of 46 MLAs in all and that he is not involved in any discussions with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

He said, “Right now we have 46 MLAs with us, including 6-7 Independent MLAs. The rest of them are Shiv Sena MLAs. This number will rise in the time to come. As of now we have neither received any proposal from BJP nor are we holding any talks with them.” Meanwhile, Eknath Shinde reiterated that he is a Shiv Sainik and his companions will continue to be Shiv Sainiks.

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He added, “As far as the current political situation is concerned, I’d say that we are Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sainiks and will continue to be Shiv Sainiks. As of now, we are not holding any talks with Shiv Sena or CM. We have not decided on the future course of action.”

Eknath Shinde further said, “All of us MLAs are together now. We are activists who believe in Babasaheb’s thoughts. We all have the same feeling. We have a strength of more MLAs than required. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has to decide if he is going to resign or not. We have scheduled a meeting in the evening to decide the next direction. After that meeting, we will inform our decision.”

Meanwhile, hours after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari got infected with coronavirus, news has appeared that chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has also caught the coronavirus infection and he will address the evening meeting through video conferencing. Shiv Sena rebel minister Eknath Shinde is currently in a hotel in Guwahati with 45 other MLAs. 5 to 6 MLAs out of these are independents won from the Shiv Sena quota while others are Shiv Sena MLAs.

Shiv Sena had won 56 MLAs in the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections. With the recent demise of one of its MLAs, the party is left with 55 MLAs. As Eknath Shinde has taken 45 MLAs with him, the party is now left with hardly 10-12 MLAs. BJP leader Nilesh Rane took a jibe at this and tweeted, “The conditions are such that only 11 or 12 MLAs have stayed back there with Shiv Sena. Uddhav Thackeray does not know how to run the party. He should take these 11-12 and make an IPL team called Matoshri 11.”

Eknath Shinde had left Maharashtra soon after the recent elections of the Maharashtra Legislative Council were over. After voting on 20th June 2022, Eknath Shinde with MLAs supporting him went to Surat. From Surat, he reached Guwahati where all the rebel MLAs are staying in a hotel.

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