Maharashtra minister and Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde: For Uddhav Thackeray 10 minute call with rebel Eknath Shinde: 10 facts

Eknath Shinde is a prominent Sena leader in Thane

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a 10-minute phone conversation with rebel minister Eknath Shinde at the center of the new political crisis in the state. Sources said there was no breakthrough.

Here is your 10-point guide to this great story:

  1. Sources said Eknath Shinde – who decamped to Surat last night, along with at least 21 other MPs – demanded that the Sena restore its alliance with the BJP and lead the state.

  2. Uddhav Thackeray had asked him to reconsider and return home, sources said. Mr. Shinde claimed that so far, he had not taken any decision or signed any document, and that he had taken this step for the good of the party.

  3. Mr Shinde is taking shelter in place at a resort in Surat in Gujarat. Two Sena executives met sulky Mr. Shinde for two hours at the hotel tonight. The fact that the G-22 he leads is hosted in a BJP-ruled state reveals behind the scenes of the rebellion. BJP chairman in Maharashtra Chandrakant Patil said the party was ready to form a government with Mr Shinde.

  4. Mr Thackeray held an emergency meeting this afternoon, but the less than robust turnout meant it was not a significant show of force; he removed Mr. Shinde from the position of Chief Whip, an important position in the party; for his part, Mr. Shinde edited his Twitter bio, removing a reference to his role as Shiv Sena.

  5. Mr Thackeray’s three-party government – the Sena, Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP – was formed in 2019 by Mr Pawar. Amid speculation about his own role and the possibility that he played a role in the crisis, Mr Pawar said the crisis was “an internal Sena matter”, but added that he remained fully committed to the tripartite government.

  6. Mr Pawar also said he would fly to Mumbai tonight to meet Mr Thackeray; earlier in the day, he was one of the leaders of the large opposition rally in Delhi that chose Yashwant Sinha, former finance minister, as its candidate for India’s presidency.

  7. The crisis in Maharashtra owes much to Devendra Fadnavis, the former BJP chief minister, who is in Delhi today and met with party leader Amit Shah. Mr. Fadnavis is considered to have facilitated the relocation of Mr. Shinde to Surat.

  8. The crisis, however, was reportedly sparked by a rebuke from Mr Thackeray to Mr Shinde last night after Sena MLAS voted for the BJP in a key election yesterday. Their action meant that the BJP won five seats out of a total of 10 (its own figures gave the party four seats; cross-voting allowed one bonus seat).

  9. Mr Shinde, however, was sensitive to the growing prominence within the Sena of Sanjay Raut, who is seen as a key aide to Mr Thackeray. Also today, it was Mr Raut who led the public relations campaign for the Sena, describing the crisis as one that would be defused and Mr Shinde as “a Sena loyalist”.

  10. To displace Mr Thackeray and win a vote of confidence – if any – the BJP needs 37 MPs on top of its 106. Without the G-22, Mr Thackeray’s government is dangerously close to a majority at 133 ( the Sena has 34 without the G-22)

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