‘Our discussions are more towards how to claim our right to use the Shiv Sena party symbol without attracting the anti-defection law.’
Maharashtra Minister Gulabrao Patil, one of the 38 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs currently at Guwahati’s Radisson Blu, reveals there has been no discussion yet among the rebels about Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s offer to make Eknath Shinde chief minister.
“Only Eknath saheb will decide on what is to be done next. His decision will be final and binding on all of us,” Patil tells Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com over the phone.
The Maharashtra chief minister in a Facebook address on June 22 appealed to the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs to come back to Mumbai, speak to him personally, and offered to quit as chief minister.
“Our discussions are more towards how to come to Mumbai with 38 Shiv Sena MLAs and claim our right to use the Shiv Sena party symbol without attracting the anti-defection law,” says Patil.
The rebel MLAs, Patil says, don’t give much weight to party MP Sanjay Raut’s media conference where he dared them to come to Mumbai and speak to Uddhav about their grouses.
“We still consider ourselves Shiv Sainiks. We believe in Balasaheb’s Hindutva. We are not against our party or any individual,” Patil adds.
The Shiv Sena’s Sawantwadi MLA Deepak Kesarkar appealed to Uddhav to join hands with the BJP and form a Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra.
“I had written a letter to him last year pleading with him to join hands with our natural alliance partner. I told him the same a couple of days ago, but there was no response. This was the plea of many Shiv Sena MLAs and I had sounded Saheb and other senior Sena leaders on many a occasion and now this (rebellion) has happened,” Kesarkar tells Rediff.com.
Meanwhile, scotching reports that the Congress is seriously deliberating its future in the Maha Vikas Aghadi after Sanjay Raut’s call that the Shiv Sena will quit the MVA if its rebel MLAs return to the party fold from Guwahati immediately, a senior Congress leader tells Rediff.com that his party will take its final decision only after meeting Chief Minister Thackeray.
“We are not concerned much about what Raut saheb is saying,” this Congress leader says just before a party meeting to discuss Raut’s stand.
“As of now, our stand remains that we firmly back Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and will continue to remain an inseparable part of the MVA,” he adds.
“Whatever he (Raut) says is his party’s attempt to get its rebel MLAs back in its fold and we wish them luck,” he says.
“We are with the chief minister in his hour of crisis and any decision (to remain in the MVA, quit it, or support it from outside) will be taken only after a joint meeting of all the MVA constituents.”
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