Sat, 25 Jun 2022

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], June 22 (ANI): Beleaguered Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, whose government is facing a crisis due to revolt within his party, said on Wednesday that he was willing to give his resignation to party MLAs who can take it to the state Raj Bhavan.

Thackeray, who addressed the people over Facebook, said he was also willing to quit as party chief if there is a demand from party workers.

Noting that a section of party MLAs was gunning for his ouster, he said instead of going to Surat, they could have conveyed their feelings to him. Thackeray said it is a matter of shame for him if "even a single MLA" is against him.

The crisis faced by Shiv Sena-led government deepened on Wednesday as party leader and state cabinet minister Eknath Shinde claimed that he has the support of 46 MLAs, including six to seven Independent MLAs.

Thackeray said he was willing to resign only on demand of party MLAs.

"If any MLA wants me to not continue as the CM, I am ready to take all my belongings from Versha Bungalow (official residence of the CM) to Matoshri," Thackeray said.

"I am ready to give my resignation to the MLAs, they should come here and take my resignation to Raj Bhavan. I am ready to leave the post of Shiv Sena party head also, not on the saying of others but my workers," he added.

Thackeray said it is not about numbers but how many are against him and he will leave if even one person or MLA is against him.

"If you (MLAs) say, then I am ready to leave the CM post. It's not about numbers but how many are against me. I will leave if even one person or MLA is against me. It's very shameful for me if even a single MLA is against me," he said.

Referring to the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance that includes Congress and NCP besides Shiv Sena, Thackeray said when all three parties came together in 2019, NCP leader Sharad Pawar told him that he had to take the responsibility of the CM post.

He said Pawar and Sonia Gandhi helped him a lot and kept their faith in him.

"I didn't even have prior experience. But I took the responsibility. Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi helped me a lot, they kept their faith in me," he said.

"But when my own people (MLAs) don't want me what I can say. If they had something against me, what was the need of saying all this in Surat, they could have come here and said this to my face," he said.

Stating that the affection of the people is the "real asset", he said that the Chief Minister post will "come and go", and he was fortunate to get a "lot of affection from people".

"CM posts will come and go but the real asset is the affection of the people. In the past 2 years, I was fortunate enough to get a lot of affection from people"Thackeray said he could not meet people in the last few months due to his health condition but was now doing so.

"It's true that I could not meet people in the last few months due to my surgery and health condition. But now, I have started meeting people," he said.

Taking a dig at party rebels, he said Shiv Sena is rooted in Hindutva and is the same party as it was when run by its founder Balasaheb Thackeray.

"Some people say that it's not Balasaheb' Shiv Sena. They should tell what were the thoughts of Balasaheb. This is the same Shiv Sena that it was at his time 'Hindutva' is our life," he said.

Shiv Sena had earlier issued a letter to party MLAs asking them to be present at a meeting at 5 pm noting that those not present will be considered to be out of the party.

The ultimatum was issued after the political crisis hit the ruling alliance.

Eknath Shinde said on Wednesday that numbers with them will rise.

"Right now we have 46 MLAs with us, including 6-7 Independent 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," Shinde told ANI over the phone.

Back-to-back meetings are being held by the three coalition partners Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena to end the crisis.

Shiv Sena's Chief Whip Sunil Prabhu had issued a letter to all party MLAs, asking them to be present in an important meeting that will be held today evening.

The letter warned that if any MLA remains absent from the meeting without proper reason and prior information, action will be initiated to cancel their membership as per constitutional provisions.

Rebel MLAs led by Eknath Shinde arrived at a luxury hotel in Guwahati in BJP-ruled Assam on Wednesday morning. (ANI)

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