Updated: June 23, 2022 6:50:21 pm
With Maharashtra plunged into a political crisis following a rebellion in the Shiv Sena, minister Eknath Shinde on Thursday posted a letter on his Twitter handle, listing a series of complaints that several party MLAs purportedly have against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Written by Sanjay Shirsat, the Shiv Sena MLA from Aurangabad, the letter addressed to Uddhav accuses the chief minister of not being accessible to party MLAs, points to the interference of middlemen who prevented Sena MLAs from meeting him and says that it was the MLAs themselves who urged Shinde to “take this decision (of revolt)”.
ही आहे आमदारांची भावना… pic.twitter.com/U6FxBzp1QG
— Eknath Shinde – एकनाथ शिंदे (@mieknathshinde) June 23, 2022
Written in Marathi, the letter dated June 22 alleges that the gates of Varsha (Uddhav’s official residence) were never open for Sena MLAs because of a few leaders around the chief minister and their issues were unheard. “Even after having a Shiv Sena chief minister, we Sena MLAs never got direct access to Varsha bungalow,” the letter says.
“Yesterday, the doors of Varsha bungalow were literally opened to the public. Glad to see the crowd at the bungalow. These doors were closed for us as Shiv Sena MLAs for the last two-and-a-half years. To enter the bungalow as an MLA, we had to request and convince those who did not contest elections and became Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha members with our votes. These so-called Chanakyas were deciding strategy for Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections,” the letter reads.
“The chief minister meets everyone on the sixth floor of the Secretariat, but for us, there is no question of the sixth floor because you have never been to the Mantralaya,” it further says.
The letter alleges that Sena MLAs only got an opportunity to meet Uddhav “after many requests”. “…but we have to wait at the gate for hours and hours and when we would call, these Chanakyas (middlemen) would not take our call. Eventually, we used to get tired and leave,” the letter says. “Why were our own party MLAs, who have been elected after getting 3-4 lakh votes, treated in such an insulting manner,” Shirsat asks.
Shirsat says that it was the MLAs who urged Shinde to revolt as they were suffering and needed justice. “All MLAs have suffered. Our issues were never heard by the people around you and it was not even conveyed to you. But at the same time, the doors of Eknath Shinde were open for us. The issues of our constituencies, funds, bureaucracy, insults from the Congress and NCP…were being heard by Shinde. Therefore, on the insistence of all the MLAs and for justice for all the MLAs, we made Shinde take this decision (of revolt),” the letter says.
Complaining about how Sena MLAs would not get development funds, Shirsat says, “When we were not getting entry at Varsha bungalow, our real opposition Congress and NCP were meeting you regularly, were working in their constituency. They were showing letters of receipt of funds…they were laying foundation stones and holding inaugurations. Photos taken with you were going viral on social media. At that time, people in our constituency used to ask us, the chief minister is ours, right? Then how do our opponents get funds? How is their work getting done? We would be stressed answering voters in our constituency as you were not meeting us at all.”
The letter also mentions how several Sena MLAs were “stopped” from going to Ayodhya. “Aren’t Hindutva and Ayodhya Ram Mandir on the agenda of Shiv Sena? So, when Aaditya Thackeray had gone to Ayodhya, why did you stop us from going to Ayodhya? You yourself called and told many MLAs not to go to Ayodhya,” the letter reads.
Shirsat says that he and his colleagues were at Mumbai airport and had even checked in their luggage when they were asked to return, allegedly at Uddhav’s behest. “Just as we were about to board the plane, you called Shinde and told him not to let the MLAs go to Ayodhya…Shinde immediately told us…We took back our checked-in baggage and reached home,” Shirsat says. “Shiv Sena did not split a single vote in the Rajya Sabha elections. Why were we not allowed to visit Ram Lalla?”
Shirsat says that the MLAs trust Shinde “who is following the Hindutva of Bal Thackeray and Anand Dighe” and adds that “his doors were always open” for them.
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The letter concludes by referring to Uddhav’s emotional address to his party MLAs on Wednesday. “Everything you said yesterday, everything that happened was very emotional, but it did not answer our basic questions. So I had to write this emotional letter to convey our feelings to you,” Shirsat says.
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