Angry Shiv Sainiks protest Eknath Shinde led rebellion

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Mumbai, June 21

Thousands of Shiv Sena men and women activists staged protest demonstrations in south Mumbai on Tuesday against, what they termed, the "BJP-instigated" rebellion led by Minister Eknath Shinde against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

Sena leader Ravindra Mirlekar slammed the manner in which many of party MLAs were "misled" and taken to Surat in neighbouring Gujarat where they learnt of the real game of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"After yesterday's (Monday's) elections, in which both the Sena candidates won, there were a lot of celebrations… Many of these MLAs were lured to go for a party and whisked off to Gujarat for such ulterior motives. Now, they are calling us up and want to return safely," he said.

Mirlekar warned that those who rebel will "not be forgiven", but those who come back will be accepted into the party fold as they have not gone voluntarily and many are in touch with the party leadership.

Mumbai South Women Wing President Jayshree Ballikar, addressing the gathering, said that this is not the first time the Sena has faced such a crisis and in the past too, there were several others who "back-stabbed" the party.

"Now, just see what is their fate. The Sena, right from Balasaheb Thackeray has done a lot for these leaders, but now they have betrayed Sena President and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for their selfish interests. However, we are fully with the party and its leaders," she said.

South Mumbai Sena leader Pandurang Sakpal said the protest march was carried out in a disciplined manner to express the anguish of the Shiv Sainiks at the unwarranted rebellion by some of the greedy elements.

He said the Sena is hopeful that those who have been taken away against their wishes will come back and help strengthen the party built out of the struggles of Balasaheb and Uddhav Thackeray and other senior leaders.

Thousands of Sainiks sporting party flags, raising slogans against the rebels and the BJP, staged noisy protests in south Mumbai, hitting traffic in the evening peak hours.

Reports of similar big and small protests by Sena activists were received from other parts of Maharashtra as the party's top leadership made hectic efforts to defuse the biggest political crisis confronting the MVA government.



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