‘Return and speak to me’: Uddhav to insurgent Sena MLAs tenting in Guwahati

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A day after the sale of the portfolios of all nine rebel Shiv Sena ministers and as the Supreme Court granted relief to breakaway MLAs, party leader Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday slapped a conciliatory note to dissidents camped in Guwahati to return to Mumbai and strike out talk to him and said it wasn’t “too late” yet.

Thackeray’s offer to fix fences comes amid controversial statements from some Shiv Sena leaders, most notably Sanjay Raut, whose statement “40 bodies without a soul” caused a stir.

“It’s not too late yet. I appeal to you to come back and sit with me and clear up the confusion (caused by your actions) among Shiv Sainiks and the public,” a statement from Thackeray’s aide was quoted as saying.

“If you come back and face me, a way might be found. As party leader and head of family, I still worry about you,” he said.

Interestingly, the leader of the rebel group, Eknath Shinde, asked the party to disclose the names of some of the MLAs camped in Guwahati who were reportedly in contact with the party leadership.

In a setback for the MVA government, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed the disqualification proceedings against 16 of the breakaway MLAs before the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly until July 11. He also refused to issue an injunction at the state government’s request that the assembly should not have a soil test.

In the eight days since Shinde raised the banner of revolt, the ranks of dissidents gradually grew, with more and more Sena MLAs and even ministers crossing over to the rebel camp.

The rebellion has rocked the Shiv Sena and threatened the survival of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, which is composed of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.

Thackeray said family members of some rebel MLAs in Guwahati have been in contact with him and the party and conveyed lawmakers’ feelings to him.

“They have been stuck in Guwahati for the past few days. New information about you comes out every day and many of you are also in touch. You are still with Shiv Sena in your heart,” he said.

Amid the growing rancor between the Uddhav-Thackeray faction and the Shinde camp, Shivsainiks loyal to the Thackerays staged protests and even vandalized the office of a dissident MLA.

The dissident camp had disapproved of statements like “40 bodies without a soul” by Raut.

The Shiv Sena has claimed that at least 20 MLAs from the rebel camp are in contact with the party.

The Sena chief also said that the honor Shiv Sena bestows on the rebellious lawmakers could not be accorded by anyone else and urged them to come forward and speak to him.

As the Rebellion saga unfolded, Thackeray had made an emotional appeal last week, saying he was ready to step down if Shinde and MLAs who support him declared they didn’t want him to continue as CM.

However, Thackeray became combative on June 24 when he accused the rebels of treason and called on them to try to wean ordinary party workers.

The dissident camp has demanded that the Shiv Sena leave Maha Vikas Aghadi and be reconciled with their estranged ally, the BJP.

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard contributors; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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