'Eknath Shinde A Loyalist': Sena As Minister, Some MLAs Camp In Gujarat

Mr Raut accused the BJP of trying to weaken Sena in Maharashtra.


After Maharashtra minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde went incommunicado, amid speculations of his jumping ship to the BJP along with at least 17 Sena MLAs as he is in Gujarat’s Surat, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut asserted that the Sena is a party of loyalists and attempts by the BJP, like in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, to topple the Maha Vikas Agahdi (MVA) government would not succeed.

Eknath Shinde is not Mumbai, Mr Raut confirmed but claimed that communication has been established with him.

“Attempts to topple the state government using Eknath Shinde will not succeed. Shinde is a loyal party worker who has participated in agitations with us several times. He is Bala Sahab’s soldier,” Mr Raut said.

Shiv Sena is a party of loyalists and Shivsainiks don’t fall for the lust of power, he said, adding that some MLAs are confused about why they have been taken there.

Mr Raut accused the BJP of trying to weaken Sena in Maharashtra. “Gujarat leaders have kept them in Surat. We spoke to several of them who want to come back but aren’t being allowed to. It’s a siege,” he said.

This development comes a day after the ruling Maha Vikas Agahdi (MVA) suffered a setback in the state Legislative Council polls by losing one out of the six seats it contested. Some Sena MLAs had reportedly cross-voted, against their own party’s interests.

Mr Raut said if Mr Shinde has any misunderstanding with the chief minister, it can be cleared. “I have spoken to (NCP chief) Sharad Pawar and other leaders of the MVA,” he said.

Talking to reporters in Mumbai, Mr Raut said it is a fact that contact with some MLAs could not be established on Monday night after the Legislative Council polls, but the party has been able to reach out to some of them now.

However, Mr Raut did not elaborate on the number of MLAs who have gone incommunicado along with Mr Shinde.

Devendra Fadnavis, BJP’s strategist in Maharashtra, also flew to Delhi and is reportedly meeting Amit Shah, fuelling speculations of a big political shift in Maharshtra. 

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