Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar on Saturday said that Eknath Shinde, not Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, was their leader and claimed that they have not left the party as they were the actual Shiv Sena. Kesarkar further claimed that they have two-third majority, and subsequently exercised the right to choose their leader.
“We are still in Shiv Sena, there’s a misunderstanding that we’ve left the party. We’ve just separated our faction. We’ve 2-3rd majority to follow the path we wanted. Our new leader was chosen by majority. They didn’t have more than 16-17 MLAs,” Rebel Shiv Sena MLA Deepak Kesarkar told news agency ANI.
Confident that the Shinde group will prove its numbers in the Assembly, Shiv Sena group leader Kesarkar told news agency PTI, “Why should we withdraw the support? We are the Shiv Sena. We have not hijacked the party, the NCP and Congress have hijacked it,” while adding, “we will not merge with any other political party.”
Moments after Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena camp passed a resolution against the naming of the Eknath Shinde camp to ‘Shiv Sena Balasaheb,’ Kesarkar said that they were ready to move court if their faction wasn’t recognised.
“Recognition should be given to our faction, if it isn’t given, we’ll go to court and prove our existence and numbers. We’ve numbers, but we respect CM Uddhav Thackeray, we won’t speak against him. We must follow the path on which we fought Assembly elections,” Kesarkar told ANI.
Kesarkar also claimed that the Eknath Shinde camp is paying for their own stay at a plush hotel in Assam’s Guwahati where at least 50 dissenting legislators from Maharashtra are camping right now. Earlier, the ruling MVA alliance partner NCP asked the Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate to probe the alleged black money involved in paying the bills for the rebels’ accommodation in Guwahati and Surat.
“No party is paying for our expenses (of hotel accommodation), our leader Eknath Shinde called us and we came and stayed here (Guwahati hotel); will pay the expenses. BJP isn’t behind all of this,” said Kesarkar while speaking to ANI.