The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Wednesday nominated Rajan Vichare as the party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha, replacing MP Bhavana Gawali, party leader Sanjay Raut said. “It is to inform you that Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party has nominated Rajan Vichare, MP (LS) as the chief whip in Lok Sabha in place of Bhavana Gawali, MP (LS), with immediate effect,” Raut said in a letter to Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi. Raut is the Leader of the Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party.
Gawali, who represents the Yavatmal-Washim LS constituency in eastern Maharashtra, was one of the Sena MPs to suggest that the Sena ally with the BJP again amid the rebellion led by Eknath Shinde. Vichare represents the Thane Lok Sabha constituency. Incidentally, CM Eknath Shinde also hails from Thane. The Shiv Sena has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha and three in the Rajya Sabha.
Earlier in the day, rebel Shiv Sena MLA Gulabrao Patil had claimed that 12 out of 18 Sena MPs would soon join the Eknath Shinde-led faction.
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. 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.