After her letter to Shiv Sena Chairman Uddhav Thackeray referring to the alliance with the BJP surfaced, the party sacked Ms. Bhavana Gwali from the position of Whip Speaker of the Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party and nominated MP Rajan Vichari in her place.
Meanwhile, in a meeting with Thackeray last week, most of the Sena MPs learned their proposal to the former prime minister for reconciliation with the Eknath Shinde faction and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), “considering the future of the party and the upcoming elections”.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Raut member of the Shiv Sena Council, Rajya Sabha, wrote a letter to Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahalad Joshi on Wednesday informing him of Jawali’s dismissal. “Dear Sir, I inform you that the Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party has nominated Shri. Rajan Vishar, MP (LS) as Whip Chief in Lok Sabha instead of Smt. Bhawana Jawali, Member of Parliament (LS) with immediate effect,” Raut stated in the letter.
Ghawali, who represents the Yaft Mal and Shem Loksabha constituency, has been in the news for a few months now for being under the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Even as the party took action against Gowali, several senior Sina leaders the Indian Express spoke with said they wanted the party to support Draupadi Mormo, the NDA candidate, in the presidential election. They also said that several members of Parliament had asked Thackeray to reconcile with the rebel camp and with the BJP. Currently, a senior leader in Thackeray’s camp said the party chief sounded positive about the proposal but expressed the view that “there must be some initiatives from the other side as well” in order to move forward.
“We have asked Sahib to reconcile with the Shinde camp and the BJP again because there is no point in fighting with our people. Several MPs told Sahib how difficult it will be for Shiv Sena candidates to run in their constituencies and run for elections if the party remains with Maha Vikas. Agadi is on the side of the Congress and the NCP,” a senior leader said, referring to the Sina president. He added that many MPs are also of the opinion that Sena should give support to the NDA candidate Murmo due to her tribal background and also the fact that Sina ran in the Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the BJP. But they said the decision in this regard would only be taken by Thackeray.
Another leader said, “Sahib also agreed to the patchwork proposal with the Shinde faction but said there should be a departure from the other side and there should be respect.”
Earlier, on Tuesday, a letter written by Jawali appeared asking Thackeray to ally with the BJP.
In the letter dated June 22, the Wachim Member of Parliament said: “Our Party Legal Aid Act asks you to make major decisions on the Hindutva agenda. These Shiv Sena leaders are loyal Shiv Sena. Hence, by understanding their feelings, without taking any action against them, I ask you to make the decision in favor of Shiv Sena even if it is difficult.”
A Sina employee said the decision to remove her from the position of whip chief was made given that Jawali was seen siding with the Shinde faction and the BJP.
The development shows that the split in Shiv Sena is not just limited to MLAs because many parliamentarians are also of the opinion that Chief Shiv Sena should fit in with Shinde as well as BJP.
The Sena has a total of 18 MPs from Maharashtra, including Shrekant Shinde, son of Eknath Shinde who already belongs to the Shinde faction and the BJP, and Jawali.
During a meeting of MPs held by Thackeray, Shekant Shinde, Jawali and Rajan Vishar were found absent. A Sina official said that while Shinde and Jawali were absent as they learned to switch to the rebel camp, Vishar did not attend the session due to personal reasons.