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Maha political crisis: In Pune, Shiv Sainiks have their heart with Matoshree but eyes on Shinde

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 23-06-2022 HT Correspondent
Party workers of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Shiv Sena unit organised a gathering in support of Uddhav Thackeray at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar chowk, Pimpri on Thursday. (HT PHOTO) © Provided by Hindustan Times Party workers of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Shiv Sena unit organised a gathering in support of Uddhav Thackeray at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar chowk, Pimpri on Thursday. (HT PHOTO)

Pune: The ongoing rebellion by Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde has put many Shiv Sainiks aspiring to contest the upcoming civic polls in double mind on who should they go with.

In Pune, many Sena leaders claimed that they have pledged their allegiance to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray even as they are keenly watching the developments in Mumbai and Guwahati.

One of the senior Sena corporator on the condition of anonymity said it is difficult for him to predict which way he or his party colleagues in the city will go.

“We are Sainiks and know both Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde are important to us. Let’s wait for a few days before we take a call,” said a two-time councillor.

Sena had 10 corporators in the recently dissolved Pune Municipal Corporation and if the party leaders are to be believed, all the former corporators, party leaders, office-bearers and party workers have pledged their support to Thackeray and his family.

The party office-bearers said most Sainiks are with Thackeray in Pune.

“There is no confusion among the Pune unit. We are Shiv Sainiks and standing strong with Sena supremo Uddhavji Thackeray,” said Gajanan Tharkude, Shiv Sena’s city unit president.

The civic elections are round the corner and the battle for PMC will be crucial for all the parties, including Sena.

According to Tharkude, “real shiv sainik” does not get distracted by all such things and no one from the Pune unit has gone astray in the present condition.

The party had several meetings in the city during the past three days to see if there’s any rebellion.

“Nobody has so far showed any inclination in Pune to join Shinde,” said Sanjay More, another city president of Sena. The party has two city unit heads.

“In the past also, some people left Sena. MLAs, corporators generally leave the party, but real Shiv Sainiks never go out,” More said.

In the 162-member PMC, BJP controlled it between 2017 and 2022 with 98 corporators, while Sena had 10 councillors, NCP 37 and Congress 19. After coming to power in the state during 2019 by aligning with Sena, the NCP is looking to regain its control over PMC, which has an annual budget of 6,700 crore.

In the 128-member Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Sena had only nine members while BJP with 77 seats controlled the civic body between 2017 and 2022 before the term of its members expired in March. The Nationalist Congress Party had 36 members, while Congress had 10 and MNS 1. In the upcoming elections, PCMC will elect 139 corporators, 11 more than the previous tenure.

He added that in the morning, the Sena Pune unit staged a protest outside MLA Tanaji Sawant’s house in Pune.

Sawant, a Sena MLA from Paranda in Osmanabad, has gone with Shinde and is currently staying in a hotel in Guwahati with other rebel Sena MLAs.

In PCMC too, sentiments of corporators were same that of Pune.

Sachin Bhosale, the city unit president of Shiv Sena, Pimpri Chinchwad, said that all the party workers, eight former corporators and party leaders from Pimpri- Chinchwad are together and with Sena. “Whatever decision Thackeray and Shinde will take jointly will be final for us,” said Bhosale.

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