In an emotional online address to the people of Maharashtra on a gloomy, rainy Mumbai evening, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that he has kept his resignation letter ready and is willing to resign from his post – but only if he is assured that someone from the Shiv Sena would go on to become the next CM.
“I will give my resignation if they (rebel MLAs) come before me and ask me for it,” he said, adding that he was ready to take his belongings and move from Varsha, the official CM’s residence, back to his home “Matoshree” in Kalanagar.
“A blow by one’s own is what hurts the most,” he said, adding that the Sena would never abandon Hindutva since those were the principles handed down by Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray to his sainiks. “As long as the common man, the Shiv Sainiks are with me, I am not afraid of any challenge that comes my way.”
“Positions come and go…the chief minister’s post came to me accidentally…it is not something I had prior experience in,” he said. Despite Sharad Pawar and Kamal Nath expressing confidence in him, Thackeray said that it is “shameful” his own people didn’t want him to be chief minister.
Thackeray’s speech was delivered over Facebook Live shortly after 30+ MLAs wrote to Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari backing rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde as their leader, thereby pushing the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government into a tighter spot than ever.
As things currently stand, Shinde needs seven more MLAs from Sena in his camp in order to split the party without being disqualified as per the anti-defection law.
“They say I do not meet people. But I conducted my first cabinet meeting when I was in the hospital due to COVID,” he said, adding that after his spine surgery last year, he had been meeting people more frequently.
Thackeray had tested positive for COVID earlier on Wednesday morning.