Within hours of his address on social media platform in which he offered to quit the top post amid rebellion by Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday night vacated his official residence in south Mumbai and moved to family home in suburban Bandra.
The CM moved out of ‘Varsha’, his official residence, for Matoshree, the private bungalow of the Thackeray family, amid high drama as the political crisis that has rocked his government after Shinde’s revolt two days ago, showed no signs of ebbing.
Shiv Sena leaders like Neelam Gorhe and Chandrakant Khaire were present at ‘Varsha’ when Thackeray was leaving the official residence.
Party workers raised slogans and showered petals on the CM as he left his official house along with his family members — wife Rashmi Thackeray, sons Aaditya, who is a Cabinet minister, and Tejas Thackeray at around 9:50 pm.
He reached outside Matoshree at around 10:30 pm. However, it took another 40 minutes for the CM to cover a short distance from outside Matoshree to his residence. Hundreds of Shiv Sainiks stationed themselves from Malabar Hill, where Varsha is located, to Matoshree in Bandra’s Kalanagar.
Carrying placards and party flags, workers raised slogan of ‘Uddhav Thackeray Zindabad’ as some of them fought back tears. Thackeray stepped out of his car at Worli, the Assembly constituency of his son and Tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray, and again near Matoshree and waived at Sena workers.
Prior to leaving Varsha, Thackeray also met MLAs and MPs. Earlier, bags containing his personal belongings were seen being loaded in cars. During a ‘Facebook Live’ session in the evening, Thackeray had said he will be leaving ‘Varsha’ and residing at ‘Matoshree’.
Thackeray, who also heads the Shiv Sena, had moved to ‘Varsha’ after becoming the chief minister in November 2019.
The NCP and the Congress are also part of the MVA.
Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde on Wednesday said the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra was an “unnatural alliance” and it was imperative for his party to walk out of the coalition with the NCP and the Congress for its own sake and that of party workers.
Shinde’s reaction came hours after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reached out to the rebels, saying he would quit his post if even one Sena MLA comes and tells him on his face that he was incompetent.
The Sena strongman, a Cabinet minister, said the MVA, formed in November 2019, was beneficial only to alliance partners the Congress and the NCP, while ordinary Shiv Sainiks have suffered the most in the last two-and-a-half years of the coalition’s existence.
“It is necessary to quit the unnatural alliance for the sake of Shiv Sainiks and the Shiv Sena. It is important to take a decision in the interest of the state,” Shinde, who is camping in Guwahati along with rebel Sena MLAs, tweeted.
His tweets were in Marathi with #Hindutvaforever. Shinde maintained that while the NCP and the Congress were growing stronger in the MVA alliance, the Shiv Sena, which heads the governing bloc, and its workers were getting systematically weakened.
Claiming to have over 40 MLAs in his fold, Shinde is sticking to his stand that while he still remains a Sena man, his party must align with the BJP and form government. The Sena has 55 members in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray finally broke his silence on the happenings and said he was ready to quit his post if the rebel MLAs tell him that they don’t want him to continue as CM.
However, Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut asserted Thackeray will not resign following the rebellion by a section of party MLAs, and maintained the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) will prove its majority in the Assembly if required.