'NCP and Congress wanted to end Shiv Sena': Rebel MLA Sanjay Shirsat
Amid the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra, rebel Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Shirsat on Thursday claimed that both Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are trying to eliminate Shiv Sena politically from Maharashtra and the MLAs made several attempts to inform Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray about the malafide intentions of alliance partners.
In a video message, Shirsat said Sanjay Shirsath said, "Yesterday, we all watched the video conference address by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. We listened to his opinions and thoughts. We felt bad. We had never imagined that Uddhav Saheb will become so emotional in such a situation. But, there are reasons behind what has happened. This has not happened overnight. This is not a miracle that happened within a day. Many times in the past, all these MLAs informed Uddhav Saheb that whether it is Congress or NCP, both are trying to eliminate Shiv Sena."
He also added that MLAs have also tried to inform the Chief Minister that people are trying to destroy Shive Sena.
"If you look at the recently held Zilla Parishad or Gram Panchayat elections, Shiv Sena stood in the fourth spot. The first spot is secured by a party whom we abuse day in and day out. The second number is NCP, the third is Congress, and then on the fourth spot comes Shiv Sena. All the people tried hard and told the CM that these people are trying to destroy our party," he said.
The rebel Shiv Sena MLA further claimed that no MLAs were consulted before the appointment of the Tehsildar to the revenue officer.
"If you look at the constituency of any Shiv Sena MLA, from the Tehsildar to the revenue officer, no official is appointed in consultation with the MLA. We told this to Uddhav ji many times but he never responded to it," said Shirsat.
He further said that several times all the rebel MLAs sought time from Uddhav Thackeray to meet him but he never met them.
"We never even got time to meet you, whatever we had to say, we told this to the secretary only and they used to tell us that your message is communicated to Uddhav Saheb. Uddhav sahib, will politics run in this way?" he asked.
Sharing the video, he tweeted that they are not traitors, but real Shiv Sainiks, adding that some people are going to destroy Shiv Sena.
"Uddhav Saheb, when you left the Varsha Bungalow (official residence of the chief minister of Maharashtra), we saw the flowers showered on the car, it was like a farewell ceremony. A person is welcomed in this way when he is arriving, and not while leaving. I am one of them who think that the incident where my chief minister and party chief has to leave is bad," said Shirsat.
Shinde shared a letter written by Sena MLA Sanjay Shirsat from the Aurangabad (West) Assembly seat and dated June 22 in which he claimed that the Shiv Sena MLAs did not have access to the chief minister's residence.
"CM never used to be in the Secretariat, instead, he used to be in Matoshree (Thackeray residence). We used to call people around the CM but they never used to attend our calls. We were fed up with all these things and persuaded Eknath Shinde to take this step," the MLA wrote in the letter.
He said MLAs have faced "humiliation" for the last two-and-a-half years, In the letter, Shirsat added that Shinde opened doors for the party legislators to listen to their grievances, issues about development work in their constituencies and related fund, and problems with allies NCP and Congress.
He said that the MLAs have several times asked for the funds from the Chief Minister but they never received any.
"How many times have we tried to talk to you to get the fund, even today you should check to see how many calls came to your office, and how many letters were received. You will find at least fifty letters by every Shiv Sena MLA who must have come to your office but no action was taken on any of the letters. We did not get any funds to work," he added.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has filed a petition before the Deputy Speaker of the state assembly seeking the cancellation of membership of 12 rebel MLAs including Eknath Shinde for "not attending" the legislative party meeting held on Wednesday.
Apart from Shinde, Shiv Sena has sought disqualification of Prakash Surve, Tanaji Sawant, Mahesh Shinde, Abdul Sattar, Sandeep Bhumare, Bharat Gogawale, Sanjay Shirsat, Yamini Yadhav, Anil Babar, Balaji Devdas and Lata Chaudhari.
However, the Shinde camp has written to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari stating that Shinde continues to be the legislative party leader.
Shinde camp has claimed the support of 46 MLAs, which includes 37 Shiv Sena MLAs and nine independents.
The rebel MLAs are at a hotel in Guwahati and held a meeting on Thursday authorising Shinde to decide on a further course of action.
Notably, Shinde was also elected leader at a meeting of rebel MLAs at the Guwahati hotel where they are staying.
The meeting also unanimously decided to authorize Shinde to make a decision about the future course of action.
Shinde also wrote to the Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly regarding the reaffirmation of his appointment as the leader of the Shiv Sena Legislature Party.
Amid the continuing turf war within Shiv Sena, the Shinde faction also said that Bharat Gogawale has been appointed as Chief Whip of the party.
The letter has the signatures of 37 Shiv Sena MLAs and a copy of the letter has been sent to Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, and Secretary to the Legislative Council Rajendra Bhagwat.
The three legislators who arrived in Guwahati on Thursday include Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse, MLA Sanjay Rathore and MLC Ravindra Phatak.
Phatak is believed to be a close associate of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who had sent him as an emissary to Surat where the rebel MLAs were lodged.