Sanjay Shirsat from Eknath Shinde camp writes to Uddhav Thackeray
A day after Uddhav Thackeray’s emotional appeal to the Shiv Sena rebels threatening to overthrow his leadership and the government of Maharashtra, an MP from the Eknath Shinde camp wrote a heartbreaking letter accusing Maharashtra’s chief minister of “their having closed its doors” and neglecting its own party leaders for years.
Uddhav Thackeray, who has often been accused of inaccessibility by his MPs, said in a Facebook livestream yesterday that he was leaving the official home of his chief minister ‘Varsha’ and returning to ‘Matoshree’, the family home which is the unofficial headquarters of the Shiv Sena.
He urged MPs to come to him and tell him to his face if they wanted him to become chief minister.
But that courtesy has never been extended in the past two and a half years, rebel MP Sanjay Shirsat wrote in his letter shared by Eknath Shinde.
“Yesterday we were delighted to see people in Varsha. We were denied entry to the chief minister’s house for 2 and a half years. We were kept waiting for hours outside his gates,” wrote Sanjay Shirsat , who is part of the rebel group staying at a five-star Guwahati Hotel.
“Shinde-iThe doors to us have always been open,” he wrote.
Mr Shirsat said he had to stand for hours outside the official residence of Chief Minister Varsha, which Uddhav Thackeray left last night after saying he was ‘ready to step down at any time’ , but refrained from resigning.
“Chanakya would always overtake us,” Mr Shirsat said, referring to Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, whose rise to power has provoked resentment from many who have now gone over to the rebel camp.
The MP also alleged that he and others were prevented from traveling to Ayodhya at the last minute as their luggage was already checked in at Mumbai airport and their boarding was about to begin.
“When Aaditya Thackeray went to Ayodhya, why were we arrested? You told many MPs urging them not to go to Ayodhya. We were at the airport in Mumbai, our luggage was checked in and we were about to board when Mr Shinde called us and said deputies He told us that the chief minister had said that deputies should not not go to Ayodhya. Why did we not allow a darshan of Ram Lalla,” Mr. Shirsat wrote.
He also claimed that when Sena MPs like him were barred from entering the chief minister’s house, allies of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress regularly visited Mr Thackeray.
“Today we stand with Shinde in the belief that his home, which has always been open to us in difficult circumstances, will remain so. Yesterday, everything you said moved us. But I did not get answers to the fundamental questions. In order to convey my feelings to you, I had to write this moving letter,” the rebel MP said.
Mr Shinde’s rebel group now has 40 MPs, enough to split the party without disqualification under the anti-defection law and far more than Uddhav Thackeray.
Even after Mr Thackeray’s call, three other MPs flew to Guwahati and joined Mr Shinde.
Sanjay Raut, who is with the chief minister, dismissed the rebel’s accusation. “Shiv Sena MPs didn’t come to Varsha. Initially there were Covid restrictions. If you talk about the government then, it’s inhumane. You (Eknath Shinde) were supposed to talk to MPs – we can’t do everything.”