Mumbai (Maharashtra): The Shiv Sena on Monday decided to remove its cabinet minister Eknath Shinde as its Legislative party leader and Sewri MLA Ajay Chaudhary will be the new Shiv Sena Legislative party leader, sources said.
This comes after Shinde and some Shiv Sena MLAs became “unreachable” today. According to sources, a day after suspected cross-voting in Maharashtra MLC polls, prominent Shiv Sena leader and state cabinet minister Eknath Shinde has reportedly become inaccessible with several party MLAs. Sources said the MLAs moved to a hotel in Surat in Gujarat.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut also confirmed the developments and said, “Some MLAs of Shiv Sena and Eknath Shinde are currently not reachable. Efforts are being made to topple the MVA government but BJP has to remember that Maharashtra is very different from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh.”
Shinde is influential in the Shiv Sena and has been instrumental in strengthening the organisation in the Thane region.
Shinde was made the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 2014 after the Shiv Sena parted ways with the BJP. He was appointed as a cabinet minister in the MVA government.
However, sources said Shinde has been feeling sidelined since the formation of the MVA government. His son Shrikant Shinde represents the Kalyan Lok Sabha seat.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders met at party leader Balasaheb Thorat’s official residence, Royal Stone bungalow in Mumbai. Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan also attended the meeting.
On the other hand, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil took a potshot at Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and said the political turmoil came up due to Raut.
Asked about Shinde’s removal from the party, Patil said neither Shinde has sent any proposal to BJP for government formation, nor the BJP has sent any proposal to him.
“It’s too early to say anything. We are currently waiting and keeping an eye on the situation. Neither Eknath Shinde has sent a proposal to BJP for government formation nor the BJP has sent any proposal to him,” he said
“So far, there has not been any proposal regarding government formation neither from the BJP nor from Eknath Shinde but anything can happen in politics at any time,” he added.
BJP bagged five seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena won two each while Congress was able to clinch one seat out of the total 10 seats in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) that went to polls on Monday.
MVA candidate from Congress Chandrakant Handore had lost in the MLC polls.
As many as 11 candidates were in the fray for the elections to the 10 seats in the MLC. All the five candidates of the BJP — Pravin Darekar, Ram Shinde, Shrikant Bharatiya, Uma Khapre and Prasad Lad emerged victorious. NCP candidates– Ramraje Nimbalkar and Eknath Khadse– and the Shiv Sena nominees- Aamshya Padavi and Sachin Ahir also secured their seats. Of the two candidates fielded by Congress, Bhai Jagtap secured the win while Chandrakant Handore lost.
BJP’s winning candidate claimed that cross-voting happened among members of Shiv Sena and Congress.
The BJP has 106 MLAs, Shiv Sena 56, NCP 53 and Congress has 44 MLAs. A total of 285 members cast their votes in the MLC polls.
Former Home Ministers Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, who are in judicial custody in money-laundering cases were not allowed to vote.