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MLAs Will Return, Says Sanjay Raut as Uddhav Govt Faces Heat; Eknath Shinde May Float New Party

Maharashtra Crisis LIVE Updates: In a major setback for the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government, Shiv Sena leader and cabinet minister Eknath Shinde and 11 MLAs said to be loyal to him have reportedly moved to a hotel in Gujarat’s Surat, a day after a blow to the ruling Sena-NCP-Congress coalition in the MLC elections where the BJP won five seats, with Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress

Shinde is reportedly miffed with the top brass after he was neglected in the functioning of the party and the government. Several media reports also said Shinde and his followers had complained about the step-motherly treatment by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in the allocation of funds.

On Monday, the NCP accused the opposition BJP of indulging in horse-trading and working secret pacts in the Maharashtra Legislative Council polls which saw Congress’ Chandrakant Handore losing to BJP’s Prasad Lad, while the Shiv Sena alleged that the BJP won only by misusing its powers. Congress said no one can be blamed if its MLAs did not vote for Handore. In a setback to the MVA, Handore lost to Lad while the other nominee of Congress, Bhai Jagtap won. All the five candidates of the BJP secured victory. Two candidates each of the Sena and NCP also emerged victorious. Sena’s winning candidates Sachin Ahir and Amshya Padvi bagged 26 votes each against the 55 votes the party has in the Lower House.

“The analysis will be done by the party seniors. They tried to instigate the Shiv Sena. The results show that all the MLAs are solid behind the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray. You all know what formulae are being used to win the polls,” Sena candidate Sachin Ahir told reporters. When asked whether the Sena votes split, Ahir said, “Our votes did not split. This cannot be said (that three votes of the Sena split) as of now. We had to perform the duty as an MVA partner,” Ahir said.

Senior Sena leader Vinayak Raut said the (fifth) BJP candidate has won only because the BJP misused its powers. The two NCP candidates together bagged 57 votes — six more than the effective strength of the party in the MLC polls. NCP state president Jayant Patil said the victory was a display of unity by MLAs of the Sharad Pawar-led party. When asked about the Congress’ defeat, Patil said, “We will come to know about it tomorrow. Those who have the habit of indulging in horse trade must have engaged in secret pacts and that will slowly come to the fore.”

NCP leader Supriya Sule hit out at the BJP and said the saffron party won because of MED (Money and Enforcement Directorate). On Congress’ defeat, senior party leader Balasaheb Thorat said it cannot be denied that its MLAs did not vote for the party candidates. “Congress candidates secured 41 preference votes against the 44 votes the party has in the polls. Bhai Jagtap got votes from some friends, but I can’t deny that we lost some votes of our party. No one can be blamed when we don’t get our first preference votes. We have to introspect where we have gone wrong. We, as the government, have to introspect where we are going wrong. But all three parties have to decide on this,” Thorat said.


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