Even as his lawyers were battling it out in the Supreme Court, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday gave a farewell speech of sorts to his cabinet colleagues for their support over the past two and a half years and apologised for the “betrayal” by the party rebels. He also told some cabinet colleagues that if the court ordered a floor test, he might resign ahead of it.
A source who attended the meeting quoted Thackeray as saying, “My colleagues have betrayed me. I apologise for this. This was unexpected. We did a new experiment in the country and parties of different views came together. We just did not speak, but came together and showed. We did not realise how these two and a half years passed. Our relations will continue and I will pray for this. Governments come and go. In politics, there is a conflict. I do not know whether the floor test will happen. If I have hurt anyone, please forgive me.”
As he walked out of the cabinet meeting with folded hands with his son Aaditya on his side, after taking several decisions including the renaming of Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar and Osmanabad as Dharashiv, Uddhav appeared very emotional and seemed to be thanking everyone.
Soon after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari asked the Thackeray-led government to prove its majority on Thursday and convened a special session of the Maharashtra Assembly, Thackeray had held a meeting of all Sena leaders at Matoshree, his residence, to discuss their further course of action. He also asked the 16 party MLAs with him to be present in Mumbai and stay in the Trident hotel in south Mumbai.
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Meanwhile, during the cabinet meeting, Thackeray expressed his gratitude towards his colleagues. “During the cabinet meeting, CM Uddhav Thackeray thanked Congress and NCP colleagues for the cooperation and expressed that the current hardship is the result of the betrayal by his own people,” said Jayant Patil, minister for water resources and an NCP leader, after the meeting.
A senior Shiv Sena functionary said they are waiting for the decision on the petition they had filed in the Supreme Court against the special session convened by the governor. He said that Thackeray would take a call after the decision of the apex court.
Earlier in the day, Sena MP Sanjay Raut had said the party would win the floor test.
While talking about the rebel MLAs’ complaint on his statements, he said, “I am presenting the stand of my party strongly. If that is a problem then I will stop speaking from today. Eknath Shinde is my old party colleague. I still tell him and others (rebel MLAs) to come back and talk. Saying that just because me or Aaditya Thackeray-ji is talking and hence they will not come for dialogue is childish. It is our duty to guide party workers at this time and hence Aaditya, me or Uddhav-ji are speaking and that should not be a problem for those who are in Guwahati. We will fight till the end. We will face the floor test and if the law is followed we will win.”
On the other hand, the Shinde camp seemed confident. Speaking to reporters, Shinde reiterated that they all were still in the Sena and would always remain the Shiv Sainiks of Balasaheb.
“We are going to reach Mumbai tomorrow. We will be participating in the floor test and after the no-confidence motion, we all MLAs will hold a meeting to decide the further course of action,” Shinde said after he reached the Guwahati airport to take his flight to Goa.
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