Could Sena MPs be next? After backing to Murmu by one, voices suggest more trouble for Uddhav

It may be that Shiv Sena led by Udhav Thackeray is considering the turmoil coming from his parliamentary wing. A day after a Sina MP asked Uddhav to declare his support for Presidential candidate for the National Democratic Assembly Draupadi MurmoOn Wednesday, the rebel Moroccan Liberation Army claimed that 12 of the party’s 18 members will soon join the party. Ignath faction led by ShindeThis is a claim not denied by partisan sources.

Speaking to reporters in his constituency in Jalgaon district, Gulabrao Patel, a minister in the Uddhav-led MVA government, said: “We (the rebel camp) have 40 out of 55 MLAs with us, 12 out of 18 MPs… I have met four MPs in person. We also have 22 previous MLAs with us.”

Shiv Sena Lok Sabha MP Rahul Chewal wrote to Udhav on Tuesday evening asking him to tell party MPs of support for Mormo, considering her tribal roots and contribution to the social sector, and gave an example of how Pal Thackeray supported UPA candidates Pratibha Patil and Pranab. Mukherjee, transcend political differences.

In what could be a related development, Sena replaced Uddhav on Wednesday with Bhavana Jawali as whip chief at Lok Sabha, with Rajan Vichare. Gwali, an MP for Yaftmal-Washim, was one of the Sina MPs who suggested the return of the Sena ally with the BJP, amid the Shendi-led rebellion.

So far the 18 MPs, with the exception of Shinde’s son Shrikant Shinde, have been holding on to nervousness because they know that without the support of the party members elected in their constituencies, winning the upcoming elections will be difficult for them. Generally, each constituency in the Lok Sabha comprises six divisions of the assembly.

Besides, in recent Lok Sabha polls (2019), when Sena won 18 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, she had fought in alliance with BJP. The big factor in this performance was Narendra Modi’s popularity. In several constituencies, Shiv Sena candidates facing anti-occupation have chosen to put up portraits of the Prime Minister. In some places, these were larger than Bal Thackeray and Uddhav.

We will see how long MPs watch from the sidelines while the rebel SLA, who are now in power and with the muscular strength of the BJP and the center, continue their attacks on Udhav and Aditya’s son. Like the one that rebel Sina Gulabrao Patel wrote: “At the behest of who (Thakiras) are they running the organization? We have worked at the grassroots level relentlessly. We shed our blood for the growth of the party. But all those who were sanctuary militants and loyal workers were marginalized in the organization.”

Prime Minister Eknath Shinde also hinted at the upcoming “rebellions” in Sina led by Udehav. “There are countless unhappy members representing Parliament, Zila Parisad, Corporations and Panchayats who will soon make drastic decisions,” he said.

The Shinde camp is certain that the split will continue horizontally across all party bodies until it reaches the grassroots, with unrest among workers said to be “many” as compared to the elected members.

The Sena leaders who remain in the Udhav camp also admit to a sense of desperation among Thackeray, without any real effort to address the problem. One senior leader said, “The problem is that we are not ready to accept our mistakes. Unless we seriously reflect and identify why we failed to retain our members, how can we improve? There is no effort to course correct.”

Rage is also rising against one of Sena’s MPs, Sanjay Raut, who has lost many friends and made some enemies through his fan-stimulating remarks that added fuel to the fire.

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