Eknath Shinde as CM? Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Mull Options to Pacify Rebel Leader As MVA Battles Crisis

As Maharashtra’s alliance government is witnessing a survival crisis, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray discussed various options to placate a rebellious Eknath Shinde, including the possibility of giving him the CM’s post. Sources said that the two senior leaders of the coalition discussed all the options to save the government at a meeting held at Uddhav Thackeray’s residence, Varsha, on Wednesday evening.

According to sources, the discussion revolved around how to assuage Shinde. The meeting discussed if Shinde can be given the post of the chief minister and whether a reshuffle of cabinet portfolios could be effected to tide over the crisis, sources said.

The meeting, which was also attended by NCP MP Supriya Sule, lasted for an hour. Sule showed a thumbs up to the reporters after coming out of the meeting.

Uddhav, during a Facebook live, said he is ready to quit both as the CM and as Shiv Sena president if the rebel MLAs and his Shiv Sainiks come and tell that to his face. “I am willing to quit Shiv Sena chief’s post too. But don’t tell me this on Twitter and by trolling me. My Shiv Sainisks have to tell me this and I will quit both posts (CM and Sena chief). But come face-to-face and tell me,” he said, breaking his silence on the expanding crisis.

Shinde, who had nursed the dream of being a chief minister in 2019, is currently camping in Assam and reportedly has the support of over 40 MLAs. As many as 34 MLAs on Wednesday wrote to the Maharashtra Governor backing Shinde. The leaders said Eknath Shinde would remain the legislative party leader of the Shiv Sena, a day after Uddhav sacked him amid the revolt.

Sources had earlier said that Shinde is said to be hurt and upset with both Uddhav Thackeray and Sanjay Raut, and displeased with the importance given to Aaditya Thackeray.

His rebellion is largely borne out of the mismanagement of Shiv Sena affairs and the way Sanjay Raut seems to have the last word in matters in the coalition. Shinde supporters and party insiders say there were complaints raised by Shiv Sena MLAs that neither Sharad Pawar nor NCP MLAs were cooperating and even Uddhav Thackeray had not been meeting them, causing a further rift in the ranks.

The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance has 152 MLAs — 55 from Shiv Sena, 53 from NCP and 44 from Congress — as its core strength. The alliance also claims support from some smaller parties and independents.

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