“We (Shiv Sena) will have a chief minister again in the state and we will work to expand the party base and cadre. Currently, membership registration drive is going on; once it is done, I will be touring the state from August. I want to have maximum membership,” Thackeray said in an interview with party mouthpiece Saamana.
Without specifically naming Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Thackeray said that when the Sena was in an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it was him (Shinde) who would claim that the BJP was not letting the Sena work in rural areas across Maharashtra.
'Shinde's Greed Led Him to...'
The former CM also slammed Shinde, saying that latter's "greed for power" had led him to compare himself with Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray.
"He (Shinde) has got the chief minister’s post for himself in a very bad way. Such is his greed for power that now he is comparing himself to Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray," he said, adding that there was unrest within the BJP because the party's leadership was "giving everything to those who have come from other parties."
The Shiv Sena chief also claimed that he had asked Shinde whether he wanted to become the chief minister.
“I had told him that if you want that we should go with the BJP, then get some answers from them and let’s talk to the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party and tell them that our people don’t want to remain in the Maha Vikas Aghadi. But he didn’t have the guts to do that," he said.
Uddhav Camp Moves SC Against Om Birla's Approval of Floor Leader
Meanwhile, the Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena filed yet another petition in the Supreme Court, this time against the decision of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to approve Rahul Shewale's elevation to the party's floor leader. Shewale is a member of Shinde's camp.
The petition states that Birla's action is completely "arbitrary" and contrary to decisions taken by the Shiv Sena and its "authorised" representatives in Parliament, LiveLaw reported.
It further claims that the party's decision to reaffirm the names of Vinayak Raut as leader in the house and Rayan Vichare as chief whip had been communicated to the Speaker, but he approved Shinde's candidate instead.
The Uddhav camp has filed a number of pleas in the apex court, challenging the election of the Speaker in the Maharashtra Assembly, the governor's decision to swear-in Shinde as the state's CM, and disqualification proceedings initiated by the Speaker.
It has also urged the court to stall the Election Commission from deciding on the Shinde camp's claim of being the "real Shiv Sena" until the completion of disqualification proceedings.
(With inputs from LiveLaw.)