“He is the son of Maharashtra. They are threatening him. Modi ji, Amit Shah, have you heard? Your minister is threatening Sharad Pawar – do you support such threats? Maharashtra wants to know,” Sanjay Raut, who had earlier tweeted the allegation, told the media today.
The Deputy Speaker is expected today to send notices to the rebel MLAs against whom disqualification pleas have been filed, party sources told NDTV. Shinde, 58, has said that the disqualification notices against the rebel MLAs were “illegal”. “What was done yesterday is illegal, they have no right. We are the people in the majority and numbers are important in a democracy. That is illegal, even they cannot do such suspension. We will not be scared by this,” he said.
The rebel MLAs are preparing to move Supreme Court once notices are issued to them, sources have told NDTV. The Eknath Shinde camp is also expected to move the Election Commission staking claim for the party and the symbol, sources added.
Thirty-seven MLAs on Thursday wrote to the Governor and Deputy Speaker, naming Eknath Shinde the legislature party leader. The move came shortly after Team Uddav Thackeray filed disqualification applications for 12 rebels with the Deputy Speaker.
Shinde has reached the critical number of MLAs, 37, required to split the party in the assembly without falling foul of the anti-defection law. His total strength is now 42.
As the rebel group gained more numbers, the Shiv Sena on Thursday said it would consider exiting the Maharashtra alliance with Sharad Pawar’s NCP and Congress but only if the rebels return “in 24 hours”.
Shinde has demanded the Sena break its alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, or NCP, saying the party leaders suffered the most in the last two-and-a-half years of the coalition’s rule.
Shiv Sena has called a meeting of the party’s district presidents today. The meeting will be chaired by Uddhav Thackeray at Shiv Sena Bhawan, Mumbai at 12 pm, news agency ANI reported.
The BJP has denied the accusation of engineering an “Operation Lotus” in Maharashtra. A BJP minister of Assam, however, was seen in photographs of Eknath Shinde and the rebels at the Guwahati hotel where they are staying.
With inputs from NDTV