A group of MLAs led by Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde have named their faction “Shiv Sena Balasaheb”, rebel MLA Deepak Kesarkar told ANI on Saturday.
Shinde is leading a revolt against the Uddhav Thackeray-led government that has plunged Maharashtra into a political crisis. The turmoil continued for the fifth day on Saturday. The Shiv Sena leader reached Guwahati in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Assam from Gujarat on Wednesday morning. He is camping with the rebel MLAs at a five-star hotel.
The rebel MLAs have been demanding that the Shiv Sena break its alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.
At a national executive meeting of the Shiv Sena in Mumbai, the Shiv Sena passed a resolution saying that no one will be allowed to use the name of party founder Balasaheb Thackeray to form a new group, reported The Indian Express.
“They [rebel MLAs] can take their own decision, but no one should use Balasaheb Thackeray’s name,” Uddhav Thackeray said, ANI reported.
Thackeray has the “sole right to take decisions about the party and its issues”, the resolution said.
Congress leader Ashok Chavan opposed the new name formed by the Shinde faction, ANI reported.
“Until it [Shiv Sena Balasaheb] gets legal authorisation from Speaker, such type of groups will not be authorised,” he said.
Security beefed up in Pune, Thane
Reports emerged on Saturday that Shiv Sena workers allegedly vandalised offices of the party’s rebel MLA Tanaji Sawant in Pune’s Katraj area. Sawant is currently camping in a Guwahati hotel with Shinde and others.
“Our party workers vandalised Tanaji Sawant’s office,” said Sanjay More, head of Shiv Sena’s Pune unit. “All traitors and revel MLAs who have troubled our chief Uddhav Thackeray will face this type of action. Their office will also be attacked. No one will be spared.”
Following the attack, the Pune Police have issued an alert in the district. All police stations are directed to secure offices of Shiv Sena leaders in the city.
Thane Collector Rajesh Narvekar has also issued prohibitory orders in the districts, PTI reported on Saturday.
As per the order, which will be in place till June 30, carrying out processions and lethal weapons is banned, Narvekar said. The administration has also put an embargo on displaying posters and placards in the district.
On Friday, Shiv Sena supports staged a protest against the rebel MLAs in Kolhapur, PTI reported.
Isolated incidents of Shiv Sena workers vandalising hoardings of rebel MLAs have been reported across the state.
Section 144 imposed till July 10
The Mumbai Police have imposed Section 144 under the Criminal Procedure Code, restricting the gathering of four or more persons in the city, ANI reported. It will be in force till July 10.
Police officers have been deployed at various offices of political party leaders, including MLAs and MPs, PTI reported. Security outside their homes has also been beefed up.
“The instructions to remain alert and to provide security was taken at a meeting chaired by Mumbai Police commissioner Sanjay Pandey, where senior officials including the joint police commissioner (law and order), additional commissioners and zonal DCPs were present,” an unidentified police official said.
Police officials are also directed to coordinate with local leaders in advance to get information related to their programmes and political events.
“The police personnel have been asked to ensure that the workers of political parties do not take law into hand, indulge in violence or damage public property,” the official told PTI. “The officials have been asked to take stringent action against the violators.”
Security cover of 16 rebel MLAs removed, alleges Shinde
On Saturday, Shinde alleged that the Maharashtra government has withdrawn the security cover provided to their homes and families and called it “an act of revenge”, PTI reported.
Shinde also wrote a letter signed by the 16 MLAs, including himself, to Maharashtra chief minister and home minister about this.
“The government is responsible for protecting them and their families,” Shinde said.
The MLAs have demanded that the protection be reinstated.
“The sinister move is an attempt to break our resolve and arm-twist us to give into the demands of the MVA government comprising NCP and Congress goons,” the letter said, reported PTI. “Various leaders of the MVA government are instigating the cadre of their respective parties to take up violence to intimidate us.”
Rebel MLAs who left have Guwahati to return to Mumbai are threatened by Sanjay Raut, the letter alleged.
“The impact of these statements was borne by two of our members as their offices were vandalised by cadres of Shiv Sena merely after hours of withdrawing security of the MLAs,” the letter added. “If our family members are harmed, then the chief minister, leaders of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government like Sharad Pawar, Sanjay Raut and Aaditya Thackeray will be responsible.”
However, Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil refuted the claims.
“Allegations being made through Twitter are false and malicious,” he said.