In a 17-minute-long webcast, Thackeray said he was ready to give up the post of Shiv Sena president as well if Shiv Sainiks feel that he isn’t capable of heading the party.
File photo of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray
Breaking his silence after his government was pushed to the brink of collapse by rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, June 22, said he was ready to quit his post if the rebel MLAs tell him that they don’t want him to continue as CM. In a 17-minute-long webcast, Thackeray who tested positive for the coronavirus earlier in the day, said he was ready to give up the post of Shiv Sena president as well if Shiv Sainiks feel that he isn’t capable of heading the party.
“Why make statements from Surat and other places? Come and tell me to my face that I am incompetent to handle the posts of Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president. I will resign immediately. I will keep my resignation letter ready and you can come and take it to Raj Bhavan,” Thackeray said. He said he would be happy to see a Shiv Sainik as his successor on the CM’s post, adding he took up the post despite his inexperience after a suggestion from NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
He said that since the political crisis erupted late on Monday, both Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar and Congress observer Kamal Nath categorically told him that they fully support him.
The row erupted on Monday, June 20, and since then Shinde and the other rebel leaders went incommunicado and travelled to Surat in Gujarat. However, on Tuesday, June 21, the rebel leaders were taken to Guwahati in Assam via a chartered flight, where they were all driven to a luxury hotel amid tight security. The Shiv Sena, which heads the MVA, has 55 MLAs, followed by allies NCP (53) and the Congress (44) in the 288-Assembly where the current simple majority mark is 144.
On Wednesday, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said he has been holding discussions with Shinde and the talks are “positive”. Talking to reporters in Mumbai, Raut said Shinde has not put forth any conditions before the party, and that discussions are also underway with other Sena leaders who are with Shinde. Raut expressed confidence that Shinde and other rebel MLAs will be back into the party fold, and said their misunderstandings will be addressed. Raut said the Chief Minister will also talk to NCP chief Sharad Pawar, the chief architect of the state’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi.