Twelve of the 19 Shiv Sena Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Lok Sabha have written to Speaker Om Birla, requesting him to make Rahul Shewale their leader while retaining Bhavana Gawali as the chief whip, sources in the Lok Sabha secretariat said.
Another letter from the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, which claims to be the original Shiv Sena, has reached the Speaker’s office removing Gawali from the post of chief whip and replacing her with Rajan Vichare. The letter written by Shiv Sena leader in the Lok Sabha, Vinayak Raut, said Vichare will be the party’s chief whip.
The move comes almost a month after a revolt in the Shiv Sena ranks saw over two-third MLAs joining rebel leader and now Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, paving the way for a new alliance government with the BJP.
Meanwhile, BJP sources said the Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena would have 14 MPs in it. “It is not 12. There will be 14 MPs in the Shinde side,” a senior BJP leader said.
CM Shinde is in Delhi to review the legal strategy on the disqualification petition filed by the Uddhav Thackeray camp against 16 MLAs supporting him.