The Maharashtra political crisis took a turn on Wednesday night as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray left his official residence ‘Varsha’ in south Mumbai and moved back to ‘Matoshree’, the private residence of the Thackeray family in suburban Bandra, after an impassioned appeal to the Shiv Sena cadre.
It is this overture now that the Sena hopes will work on its members. While it may not necessarily lead to a show of strength across cities, the Sena hopes it will convince some Shiv Sainiks to return.
For the Sena, the message is clear — it will adopt the ‘wait and watch policy’ and put its strategizing on hold till rebel leader Eknath Shinde takes any further steps. Sena sources say that the rebel Sena MLAs might take some time to process Uddhav Thackeray’s emotional speech and Shinde will have to wait for a few days till this sentiment is pacified.
Amid the parleys, a conspiracy theory doing the rounds is that Uddhav Thackeray himself may have orchestrated the crisis after completing 2.5 years in power, though sources in the Sena deny it.
Meanwhile, this is the biggest rebellion within the party which has till now seen the likes of Chhagan Bhujbal, Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray deal blows to the Sena. The party is in a huge crisis as it finds itself without the second line of leadership waiting to take over. Also, there is anger among loyalists about independents being given ministerial berths and about the same independents now joining hands with Shinde.
While there is severe resentment against NCP among the rebel allies, they are not necessarily insisting on going with the BJP only. Primarily, the rebel camp is upset with the NCP as they feel sidelined by their own party. In short, the sentiment is not pro-BJP, but anti-NCP.
The BJP, on its part, will not touch these rebels till there is a safe figure of 37 so, like the Sena, it too shall wait and watch the crisis unfold.
The Congress and the NCP will continue to conduct their daily administration till Uddhav Thackeray tenders his resignation or a floor test is called for. The alliance, however, believes that a floor test may not happen anytime soon.
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