‘Unke Pairo Tale Zameen Khisak Rahi Hai’: Eknath Shinde Denies Pressuring Rebels, Says 50 MLAs Backing Him

“Unke pairo tale zameen khisak rahi hai [The ground is slipping from under their feet],” said rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde on the Maharashtra political crisis as he seemed resolute on his rebellion.

In an exclusive interview to CNN-News18, Shinde denied allegations of pressuring the rebel MLAs. “I am here for the last four days now. Still people are coming to join us. Is this pressure?”

The leader also dismissed efforts by the Sena top brass to take action against them. “They are scared. Unke pairo tale ki zameen khisak gayi hai. Who kisko dara rahe hain? This won’t work in a democracy,” he said.

Shinde added: “What action are they taking against us? We can take action against them. We have the numbers. We have over 50 MLAs now and the support will only increase.”

In a series of tweets posted late Thursday night, Shinde — who is camping in Guwahati along with 37 Sena legislators and 10 independents — said as per the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, a party whip is issued for the legislature proceedings and not for attending a meeting.

The Shiv Sena led by Thackeray has sought the disqualification of 12 legislators from the Shinde camp for not attending the legislature party meeting on Wednesday. Responding to it, Shinde said in tweets, “There are several Supreme Court decisions in this regard. Who are you trying to frighten? We understand your games and law as well. You can’t ask for action against 12 of our MLAs because we are loyal to Balasaheb Thackeray and are the real Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks. In fact, we demand action against you for forming a group despite having no numbers.”

In the wake of his rebellion, Shinde was sacked as Shiv Sena’s group leader in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. The party appointed Ajay Chaudhary in his place. However, the rebel faction passed a resolution retaining Shinde as their group leader and appointed Bharat Gogawale as the chief whip in place of Sunil Prabhu. Prabhu had sent letters to the rebels, asking them to attend the legislature party meeting on Wednesday evening in Mumbai or face action under the anti-defection law.

Shinde, 58, who is the sitting MLA from Kopri-Pachpakhadi in Thane city, is a key Sena leader in the Thane-Palghar region, which is considered a stronghold of the Sena and several banners have come up in his support in the region.

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