Shiv Sena parliamentarians are still undecided on joining the breakaway faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde amid claims by the BJP leaders that at least a dozen Lok Sabha members were in touch with them.
A central BJP minister claimed that the split in the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra will also have an impact in the Lok Sabha as at least a dozen Lok Sabha members of the outfit, out of the total 19, were ready to switch sides.
The Shiv Sena’s 19 members in Lok Sabha include one from Dadra & Nagar Havel. It has three members in the Rajya Sabha.
Shinde’s son Shrikant, a two-term Lok Sabha member from Kalyan, has already joined ranks with his father, while five-term parliamentarian from Yavatmal Bhawana Gawli had written a letter to the then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray urging him to consider the grievances of the rebels with regard to Hindutva.
Rajan Vichare, the Lok Sabha member from Thane, was mentored by the late Anand Dighe like Shinde.
Gawli has been under the radar of the Enforcement Directorate over allegations of money laundering connected with a non-governmental organisation run by her.
A section of the Lok Sabha members was in a quandary as several MLAs in their constituencies had sided with Mr Shinde and were apprehensive of financial support for development projects under the new dispensation.
“There has been no impact of the rebellion on the Shiv Sena parliamentary party,” Vinayak Raut, leader of the Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha told PTI.
Lok Sabha member from Osmanabad Omraje Nimbalkar too said he was firmly with Thackeray and would cast his vote in the July 18 presidential elections as per the directions of the Shiv Sena chief.
“The split is in the Shiv Sena legislature party, why do you want to drag the Parliamentary unit into this,” a Sena Lok Sabha member from Vidarbha region said.
The Rajya Sabha members are Anil Desai, Sanjay Raut and Priyanka Chaturvedi, all considered close to the Thackerays.
With inputs from NDTV