The Uddhav Sena versus Shinde Sena fight has now reached the Lok Sabha with the faction led by the former Maharashtra chief minister, reduced to a minority in the Maharashtra assembly, appointing a new chief whip for the lower house, replacing MP Bhavana Gawali.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Wednesday appointed Rajan Vichare as the party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha, replacing MP Bhavana Gawali, party leader Sanjay Raut said.
This development came as rebel Shiv Sena MLA Gulabrao Patil on Wednesday claimed that 12 out of 19 Sena MPs would soon join the Eknath Shinde-led faction. The spread of the revolt among the MPs will be a huge disadvantage to the Sena, which, apart from having 19 members in the Lok Sabha, has three in the Rajya Sabha as well.
A day earlier, Shiv Sena Lok Sabha member Rahul Shewale had urged Uddhav Thackeray to ask party MPs to support NDA’s Presidential nominee Draupadi Murmu, considering her tribal roots and contribution to the social sector.
The move by the Uddhav Thackeray faction gains significance for two reasons. Firstly, it is being seen as an anticipatory step by the Uddhav side to prevent the Eknath Shinde faction from taking over the parliamentary party, and secondly, the choice of Vichare, who is a leader from Shinde’s home turf Thane, as chief whip suggests that former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav is has not yet given up on the battle despite being reduced to a minority in the state assembly.
Whips played a crucial role in the recent political crisis which culminated in the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government and Eknath Shinde taking oath as the new chief minister. The factions led by Shinde and Thackeray had issued whips for voting during the election of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the trust vote of the Shinde-led government. The validity of the whips is being contested by each other.
Another spar going on parallelly in the Shiv Sena is over the party symbol. Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Gulabrao Patil on Wednesday said the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was the real claimant of the party’s ‘bow and arrow’ poll symbol, a claim contested by the Uddhav Thackeray-headed camp of the saffron outfit.
With inputs from News18