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In Sena vs Sena, Uddhav Thackeray ‘removes’ Eknath Shinde as ‘leader’

Eknath Shinde never called himself Paksha Pramukh (party leader).

Mumbai:

In the fierce battle over Shiv Sena claims, Uddhav Thackeray today dismissed Maharashtra’s new chief minister, Eknath Shinde, as Shiv Sena leader in the party organization. In a letter released by the party, Mr Thackeray said Mr Shinde had engaged in “anti-party activities” and voluntarily renounced his membership.

“In exercise of the powers vested in me as Shivsena Paksha Pramukha, I am removing you from the position of leader of Shivsena in the party organization,” reads the letter signed by Uddhav Thackeray.

While Mr Shinde claimed he was the leader of the Shiv Sena and Thackeray’s camp was a minority, he never called himself Paksha Pramukh (party leader). Mr. Thackeray is technically still the leader of the party.

Earlier today, Mr Shinde sent a subtle message positioning himself as the political heir to Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. He changed his Twitter account profile picture to one with Balasaheb Thackeray, a fiery Hindutva icon and Maratha Pride mascot.

The Shinde faction told the Supreme Court that they were the real Shiv Sena. Arguing that Mr Thackeray diluted his father Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva ideology by forming a coalition with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, he called it an “unholy alliance”.

In a direct attack on Uddhav Thackeray, rebel Sena minister Gulabrao Patil earlier said Mr Thackeray had left 52 MPs from his own party as well as his official residence, but was not ready to leave the leader of the NCP, Sharad Pawar.

Uddhav Thackeray resigned as chief minister on Thursday after the Supreme Court refused to suspend Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s vote of confidence.

Shortly after Mr Shinde was sworn in, Mr Thackeray questioned the BJP’s decision to install a ‘so-called Shiv Sainik’ as Maharashtra’s chief minister when he had no failed to deliver on his 2019 promise to rotate the post of chief minister.

Addressing a press conference at Shiv Sena Bhavan, Mr Thackeray also urged the BJP not to betray Mumbai as it has “betrayed” it.