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Next Maha battle: Who controls the Shiv Sena?

The tussle for control over the party between the rebel faction and current party chief Uddhav Thackeray is set to intensify in the days to come. 

Expert view on next Eknath Shinde Vs Uddhav Thackeray battle
Mumbai, First Published Jul 1, 2022, 8:45 AM IST

With rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde taking oath as the new chief minister of Maharashtra, the tussle for control over the party between the rebel faction and current party chief Uddhav Thackeray is set to intensify. 

Also Read: Eknath Shinde is Maharashtra's new CM: Know his net worth, property, cars and more

The next step for Shinde, who has the support of over 40 legislatures, would be to claim control over the party and the symbol, say political observers. They believe that the BJP has achieved two goals by announcing the rebel Shiv Sena leader's name as the chief minister.

Professor and co-director at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Dr Sanjay Kumar said, "The BJP hit two targets with one arrow. The first one -- it has tried to give a message that the party is not there for snatching power but to follow ethics in the political spectrum. The second one is that Uddhav Thackeray had been demanding that the chief minister should be from the Shiv Sena. It has been fulfilled now."

On being asked about the future of Thackerays and Shiv Sena, Dr Sanjay Kumar said, "Just wait for how things will unfold in the days to come."

"Only time will tell what would be the future of Uddhav Thackeray and who would have control over the party. If the Speaker recognised Shinde faction as the real Shiv Sena then either Thackeray could remain the party president or have to leave it. If there is division in the party, then the election commission will decide who the real Shiv Sena is. It can't be speculated now. It can only unfold with time," the CSDS professor told Asianet Newsable.

The political expert was of the view that the tussle between them would continue since Uddhav would not like to be seen with the BJP, with whom he had fought for two-and-a-half years.  

"If Shinde says we are the real Shiv Sena and Udhhav has no role to play, then there would be a tussle for the control over the party. It is not necessary that the faction which has the maximum number of legislatures would be considered as they have control over the party. It is up to the election commission to decide," he said.

The CSDS professor also believed that Uddhav Thackeray will not oppose Shinde becoming the chief minister. 

To note, out of 55 Shiv Sena MLAs, the Uddhav Thackeray camp is left with just 13 legislators.

"Uddhav Thackeray has always been saying that I would be happier if there is a chief minister from Shiv Sena. By naming Eknath Shinde as the chief minister, Thackeray would not say anything. He will be bound to extend support to him since Shinde is also from the Shiv Sena. The BJP has played a trump card," he said.

During the joint press conference, Fadnavis had announced that he would extend outside support to the Shinde government. In a surprise decision on Thursday evening, BJP national president JP Nadda announced Fadnavis would be Shinde's deputy in the government.

Also Read: Eknath Shinde takes oath as Maharashtra CM, Fadnavis his deputy

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