26 Jun 2022

"If You Have Guts ...": Aaditya Thackeray's Open Challenge to Rebels

Maharashtra Prime Minister Aaditya Thackeray has persuaded Shiv Sena rebels, led by Minister Eknath Shinde, to leave the party and face elections, amid growing political tensions in the province.
He called on the rebels to "defeat and fight", in the open-air challenge of the BJP-backed Assam MPs as the uprising against Prime Minister Uddhav Thackeray continued for almost a week.

"If you are brave, leave Shiv Sena - the element and fight. If you think what we have done is wrong, Uddhav (Thackeray) ji's leadership is wrong and we are all wrong, then we can resign and face the election. We are ready," he said.

"You see people standing here - they will not be able to campaign here in Maharashtra," Mr Thackeray said, addressing supporters in Mumbai yesterday.

Earlier he had called the issue a war between truth and falsehood. "We will not forget the betrayal of a Shiv Sena MP. We (Shiv Sena) will definitely win," he said.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi government is on the verge of collapsing with Mr Shinde, a heavyweight Maharashtra in Thane district, claiming support from about 40 MPs in Sena.

The insurgent group called the coalition of the Sena and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and Congress "unnatural", and demanded that the party, founded by Balasaheb Thackeray, restore its relations with the BJP.

Sena has so far demanded the withdrawal of 16 rebellious MPs, including Mr Shinde, and notices have been sent to them.

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