In his first address since the beginning of the ongoing political turmoil in the Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, 22 June, asserted that he "is willing to resign as CM immediately," but asked the rebel leaders and MLAs to speak to him directly and not resort to wrong means.
Thackeray also claimed that some MLAs present in Guwahati called him, and requested to return.
He further added that some people are trying to create an "illusion" that this is not Bal Thackeray's Shiv Sena, adding that the party has not drifted away from the Hindutva agenda.
Here are the key highlights from the address.
"Shiv Sena is dedicated to Hindutva as Bal Thackeray had taught us. The Shiv Sena never drifted away from Hindutva."
"Some people are trying to create an illusion that this is not Bal Thackeray's Sena. What have I done to create that impression? We fought on the agenda of Hindutava in 2014 and in 2019."
"I am willing to resign as the CM immediately. But can you promise me that the next CM will be from Shiv Sena? Post doesn't matter. People consider me part of their family, this is the biggest achievement of life."
"Ready to quit even as Shiv Sena chief, but let those disgruntled MLAs come forward and demand so."
"I would have not have been so hurt and shocked if the Congress or the NCP had said that they don't want me as the CM. But, Kamal Nath ji called me yesterday, and so did Sharad Pawar ji, extending support to me. What's more disturbing is if my own people don't want me as the CM, why not say so?"
"If that was the case, why did they have to go to Surat and speak and not speak to me directly? If any of them would have said that they do not want me as the CM, I would have stepped down."
"The people that we thought were ours, were trusted Shiv Sainiks, need to be kept united. I had taken power to fulfill promises made to Bal Thackeray."
"Pawar had asked me to lead the MVA when we were forming the government in 2019, he said only I could keep the party united."
"There were complaints that I have stopped meeting people. The reason behind that was my surgery which led to a difficult few months. But the work was happening, via video conferencing or other means."
Eknath Shinde's Four Claims
Eknath Shinde took to Twitter after Thackeray's address to say that the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance only benefitted the Congress and the NCP and led to the weakening of the Shiv Sena. In four points, Shinde said:
"1. In two and a half yers of the MVA, only the allies benefitted while the Shiv Sainiks were sidelined.
2. While the allies got stronger, the Shiv Sainiks and the Sena only weakened.
3. It is important to get out of this unnatural alliance to save the party.
4. Important to take a decision for Maharashtra."
Reactions to the Address
Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament and Shiv Sena deputy Priyanka Chaturvedi said that the Sena "functions like one big family, more about social bonding for larger good over its politics".
"Honourable Party President has shared his heart out, time to fight," Chaturvedi added.
Meanwhile, Aurangabad MP and AIMIM member Imtiaz Jaleel said that despite political and ideological differences with the Sena, "hearing Mr Uddhav Thackeray today my respect for him has simply grown".
"Your politeness gave a tight slap to all the dissenters within your party," Jaleel said.
BJP IT Cell National Convenor Amit Malviya hit out at Thackeray, alleging that he "became CM by deceit."
"Today, despite being in power, he has no control over his party, his legislators disapprove of his government," Malviya alleged.
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