Even as the battle for the claim to Shiv Sena is on in the Apex Court, rumours are rife that the Shinde camp is looking for a new Shiv Sena Bhawan. This will serve as the party office for the breakaway faction. Plans are also afoot to open new shakhas or local party offices everywhere, claim sources.
No location has been fixed yet for the new Bhawan, but they are looking for a place near the existing one in Mumbai’s Dadar, claim insiders close to Shinde.
Rubbishing speculations of a parallel seat of power, newly inducted Maharashtra minister Uday Samant, dubbed it baseless. “There is a misconception that a parallel Shiv Sena Bhawan is being made in Dadar. However, we are trying to find a central office so that the CM can meet common people,” he said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has been calling his faction the “real Shiv Sena” and a follower of Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideology while accusing the Uddhav Thackeray-led group of straying from the party founder Bal Thackeray’s ideals.
Earlier this week, Mr Shinde, who formed a new government in the state by joining forces with the BJP, expanded his cabinet after mounting criticism of a “two-person government.” The Thackeray faction has claimed that administering ministerial oath to rebels MLAs, whose disqualification pleas are pending before the Supreme Court, amounted to “murder of democracy and the Constitution.”
Mr Shinde on Tuesday expanded his two-member ministry, 41 days after taking oath as the Chief Minister by inducting 18 ministers, nine each from his rebel Shiv Sena group and the BJP.
The Thackeray faction is also fighting to keep their election symbol as the Shinde camp stakes claim over that as well. The Election Commission (EC) has reportedly given the Thackeray faction 15 more days to submit documents in support of its claim on the party’s election symbol — a “bow and arrow.”
Mr Shinde along with 39 other Sena legislators had rebelled against the party leadership in June this year, leading to the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. The MVA consisted of the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.
Eknath Shinde took oath as chief minister on June 30 along with BJP leader and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.