Amid the deepening political crisis in Maharashtra, rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Khadse on Thursday tweeted a letter addressed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, and captioned it “this is the sentiment of MLAs”.
The open letter, written by MLA Sanjay Shirsat, articulated complaints of rebel legislators. The letter alleged inaccessibility to the chief minister’s residence. “CM never used to be in the Secretariat, instead, he used to be in Matoshree (Thackeray residence). We used to call people around the CM but they never used to attend our calls. We were fed up with all these things & persuaded Eknath Shinde to take this step,” the MLA wrote in the letter.
It also charged that Sena MLAs were not given funds for developmental works in their constituencies whereas NCP and Congress MLAs received funds easily.
“It was nice to see people are being allowed inside your Bungalow but these doors were closed for us elected MLAs. We came with our problems in our constituencies and other work, but were made to remain outside for hours together. Eknath Shinde was on the other hand was accessible. We stood at the gates of Varsha for hours. It was only eknath shinde who supported us.”
The MLA also pointed out the incident of MLAs being stopped to visit Ayodhya with Sena minister and CM’s son Aaditya Thackeray.
“When Hindutva and Ram Mandir are crucial issues for the party, then why did the party stop us from visiting Ayodhya. MLAs were called and were stopped from going to Ayodhya during Aaditya Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya,” the letter read.
The letter came in response to Thackeray’s address on Wednesday in which reached out to rebels with an emotional appeal and offered to quit, saying he will be happy if a Shiv Sainik succeeds him.
Breaking his silence over the revolt led by Shinde, the Sena strongman from Thane, Thackeray said he was ready to step down if the rebel leader and MLAs supporting him, all camping in Guwahati in the BJP-ruled Assam, declare that they don’t want him to continue as CM.
The CM said he was ready to give up the post of party president as well if Shiv Sainiks feel he isn’t capable of leading the outfit which is heading the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, which also includes the NCP and the Congress.
“Why make statements from Surat (where rebels headed first on Monday night) and other places. Come and tell me on my face that I am incompetent to handle the post 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 the Raj Bhavan,” he said.
However, Shinde remained defiant and insisted the party should walk out of “unnatural” ruling alliance MVA and claimed support of “enough number” of MLAs.