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BJP and Shiv Sena allies might not go after Uddhav faction

Sources said that at a party meeting, top state BJP leaders took a unanimous decision to let the Sena split tussle die down, and to focus on battling the Uddhav side in the elections to follow.

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde along with rebel Shiv Sena MLAs flashes the victory sign. (PTI)

Having won the floor test comfortably in the Assembly on Monday, the BJP and the Eknath Shinde Shiv Sena faction may not press for disqualification of the 15 MLAs left with Uddhav Thackeray.

While Speaker Rahul Narwekar said Sunday that he would seek their disqualification as they had ignored a whip issued by the Shinde side, for the election for Speaker, highly placed sources in the BJP said the party wanted “truce”. Another sign of this cooling of tempers was the smooth Assembly proceedings Monday, with the Uddhav-led Sena not creating any disruption.

“The initial tough talk by the BJP-Shinde faction was part of a political strategy to counter the challenge of the Uddhav-led Shiv Sena against Shinde-led MLAs in the Supreme Court and Assembly… Now that we have won both the Speaker’s election and vote trust, we want to buy truce,” a BJP leader said. Another leader said Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was of the view that “we should fight till a point, but not stretch it beyond”.

In the Assembly, the Uddhav-led Sena did not protest vociferously when the Speaker accorded recognition to the rebel faction, and let the floor test be held smoothly. Sources said that at a party meeting, top state BJP leaders took a unanimous decision to let the Sena split tussle die down, and to focus on battling the Uddhav side in the elections to follow.

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One reason is that the Shinde-Fadnavis government does not want to come across as vindictive towards the Thackerays, who still hold a place in Sena cadre hearts. “Any act against the 15 Sena MLAs with him, including Aaditya Thackeray, could boomerang. It would look as if the BJP was trying to finish the Sena,” a leader said. Speaking to the media Monday, the Shinde faction chief whip, Bharat Gogawale, said while seeking the disqualification of the 15, they had made an exception for Aaditya.

“We had given notices to them for defying our whip. But we did not mention the name of Aaditya out of respect for Bal Thackeray. We neither served him any notice nor mentioned his name,” Gogawale said.

The reconciliatory tone was also evident in the speech made by Shinde on the floor of the House while replying to the trust vote, where he urged the other side to “now accept we have the majority support within the parent party, with 40 MLAs out of 55” and said he did not believe in “politics of vengeance”.

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One more Sena MLA crossed over to the Shinde side on Sunday night, and the Chief Minister said “three are waiting to join us”. While blaming Uddhav for the revolt, saying he had deviated from the core Hindutva agenda of Bal Thackeray, Shinde assured the Opposition that his government will not seek revenge.

The Uddhav faction is still awaiting for the Supreme Court’s verdict on July 12 on its petition seeking the disqualification of the MLAs with Shinde. Earlier, the apex court had granted Shinde-led MLAs interim relief by extending the time to file response to the disqualification notices served on them till July 12.

The two-day Assembly special session concluded on Monday. The next session, which was scheduled for July 18, has been deferred. A new date will be announced soon.

First published on: 05-07-2022 at 01:41:13 am
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