In another setback to Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, 66 of the 67 former Shiv Sena corporators of the Thane Municipal Corporation extended their support to newly-elected Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, PTI reported.

The 131-member Thane civic body is considered to be one of the important municipal corporations in Maharashtra. The tenure of the Thane Municipal Corporation has ended and the elections are expected to take place in August-September.

Late on Wednesday evening, 66 Shiv Sena corporators, led by former Mayor Naresh Mhaske, met Shinde at his home in Mumbai and assured support to his faction in the upcoming polls.

Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister of Maharashtra on June 30 following a revolt against his predecessor Thackeray. On July 4, he won a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly. Shinde got 164 votes in his support, significantly above the majority mark of 145, while 99 MLAs voted against him.

Shiv Sena changes whip in Lok Sabha

Meanwhile, fearing a revolt among its MPs, the Thackeray faction on Wednesday appointed Rajan Vichare as the Shiv Sena’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha, replacing Bhavana Gawali, The Times of India reported.

The decision was taken as during the Shinde-led rebellion, Gawali had suggested that the Shiv Sena should ally with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The role of a chief whip is crucial in legislative proceedings as elected representatives of a party are bound to follow their orders in the event of a trust vote. Defying the orders of the chief whip might lead to disqualification of MPs and MLAs.