Other States

Uddhav Thackeray camp tries to secure loyalty

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and MLA Deepak Kesarkar. File photo

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and MLA Deepak Kesarkar. File photo | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Following Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde’s massive intra-party rebellion which split the Uddhav Thackeray-led party right down the middle, rumblings of future revolts within the party, particularly of Sena MPs, have reportedly prompted Mr. Thackeray’s camp to get their remaining flock to sign affidavits pledging loyalty.

While Sena MP Arvind Sawant and others loyal to Mr. Thackeray denied reports of partymen being made to sign such affidavits, the rebel camp led by Chief Minister Shinde said the loyalty pledges were “an insult to democracy.”

Mocking the affidavits, rebel MLA Deepak Kesarkar, the spokesperson of the Shinde faction on Saturday said there was no law binding MPs or MLAs to pledge loyalty a party.

He said that while the loyalty pledges taken on affidavits on Rs. 100 stamp papers would generate a lot of revenue for Maharashtra, they would have no legal standing.

“There is no such law in India…This is a democracy, not a dictatorship. Anyone who is a member of one political party is free to leave it and join another… You cannot tie someone down with an affidavit. This is an insult to democracy. Balasaheb Thackeray [late Sena founder] had tied everyone together with his love and with the Shiv-bandhan on our wrists – the thread loyalty and Hindutva that ties us together. No one can take it off my wrist,” said Mr. Kesarkar, speaking in Goa.

Chief Minister Shinde arrived at the Taj Resort and Convention Centre in Panaji early today morning and held a meeting with the rebel MLAs in the hotel at around 11 am. The 50 MLAs (Sena and independent legislators), still holed in Panaji, were due to arrive in Mumbai late evening in order to be present for the two-day special session of the Legislative Assembly on July 3 and 4.

A meeting with Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis is also due once the MLAs return from Goa to Mumbai.

Meanwhile, commenting on Mr. Shinde’s expulsion from the party by Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, Mr. Kesarkar said that they (Shinde faction) would reply to Mr. Thackeray’s letter in a legal manner.

“We have already said we will not directly answer any questions over statements made against us by Uddhav ji. We still have the greatest respect for him. The letter that CM Shinde received yesterday has been written in the legal language and will be replied to in a legal manner,” Mr. Kesarkar said.

With Mr. Shinde sworn in as Maharashtra Chief Minister and having the majority of the 55 Sena MLAs with him, the refrain from the Shinde camp is that the Thackeray faction, with barely 15 legislators, can no longer claim ‘ownership’ of the party.

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2022 12:55:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rattled-by-intra-party-revolt-beleaguered-uddhav-camp-tries-to-secure-loyalty-via-affidavits/article65593096.ece