Minutes after Shiv Sena petitioned the deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal to disqualify 12 rebels, their leader Eknath Shinde posted a series of no-holds-barred tweets that ruled out any possibility of reconciliation.
Shinde posted three successive tweets in Marathi. The first read: “Who are you trying to scare? We understand your made-up law too! According to the 10th Schedule to the Constitution, the whip is applicable for Assembly proceedings, not for meetings. There are numerous Supreme Court decisions in this regard.”
“You can’t scare us by applying for action against 12 MLAs. We are the real Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainik of the venerable Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray,” he continued. In his next tweet, he in fact suggested that he had the majority of MLAs and hence, was the real Sena.
“We demand action against you for creating an illegal group without the numbers,” he wrote.
Shinde and his rebel camp, which is now 37-strong is likely to form a a new political grouping swearing allegiance to the legacy of Bal Thackeray.
For the first time since he staged his revolt on Tuesday, Shinde said their efforts were backed by a “national” party. In a video released by Shinde’s camp, which shows him speaking to his faction in Gauhati, Shinde said: “The national party, which shook Pakistan, has told us that the decision we have taken was historic. They have pledged their support to us.”
Shinde has repeatedly staked his claim over Sena’s legacy by invoking Bal Thackeray as well as Shinde’s own mentor, the late Anand Dighe. And on Thursday’s tweets, he made his claim even clearer by calling himself “the real Shiv Sainik”.
The faction’s main demand is for Sena to break away from its “unnatural” alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, and ally with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Thursday said that even though Shinde did not name BJP in the video, it was clear that the rebel leader was referring to it. He read out a list of national parties in the Election Commission’s records. “He has made a statement that a national party has supported them. I have the list of the national parties, which include, the BJP, Mayawati’s [BSP], CPI, CPM, Congress and NCP. Now you tell me if CPI, Congress or NCP have any hand in this or have backed them?”
Pawar said that Gujarat BJP chief CR Paatil as well as the BJP government in Assam made arrangements for the rebel faction of Sena leaders.