A week is a long time in politics, they say. Given the political volatility surrounding Maharashtra at the moment, even one day is a long time.
The past week, all his political moves may have been interpreted as a sign of caving in, but on Friday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reached out to the party functionaries and allayed fears and doubts regarding both things; the survival of Shiv Sena and continuation of MVA government.
"Despite the rebellions that the party has faced earlier, it came to power twice. I may have left Varsha, the CM's official residence, but not my determination," he said.
On a similar note, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut even challenged the rebel camp to come to Mumbai. "We are not going to concede defeat. This government will last its entire term," he said.
Uddhav Thackeray, along with his son Aaditya, arrived at the Sena Bhawan and called a meeting of his district heads. The MVA government is bracing up for the ongoing tussle ahead, as the Deputy CM and NCP leader Ajit Pawar and his party members also met Uddhav Thackeray to chalk out the next plan of action.
The rebel camp, in the meanwhile
Eknath Shinde, on the other hand, left Guwahati for Mumbai. In one of the official outcomes of the ongoing political crisis, Ajay Chaudhary has been acknowledged as the Shiv Sena party group leader by the Deputy Speaker.
A letter from the Maharashtra Legislative Secretariat to the Shiv Sena, stated the same. Chaudhary was appointed as the Shiv Sena party group leader after the revolt led by Eknath Shinde.
Shinde does a U turn?
After subtle hints and strong speculations pointing towards Shinde forming his government in alliance with BJP, on Friday, the rebel leader Shinde seemed to take a U turn. A day after claiming that a "powerful national party" was backing his group of MLAs and also after stating earlier that BJP would be a natural ally of Shiv Sena, Shinde also said that no political party was in touch with him.
In a television interview, he clarified his stance, "When I said that a big political power was backing us, I meant the power of Balasaheb Thackeray and Anand Dighe."
After the political jab, some social media jibes
Mocking and downplaying the camping of Maharashtra MLAs in Guwahati, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said he was happy and all the 'tourists' were welcome. "Some people have come to Assam. They booked hotels. I am happy for that. You also come, it will help Assam's economy. Through this Assam tourism is also getting promoted," he said, while accompanying NDA's presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu for filing of her nomination papers.
Memes and satire have taken over the social media in the context of Mahasrashtra political crisis. Some highlighted the fact that it has been a costly affair for Eknath Shinde, with a chartered flight, three luxury buses and a five-star property being plied to accommodate the rebel MPs. Several leaders and even rebel Shiv Sena MLAs took to Twitter to share their side of the story on the crisis.
Several speculated how CM Uddhav Thackeray did not foresee a political storm coming or the rebellion within his outfit or even the coup led by Shinde. Reportedly, many police officers, anonymously admitted to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray frequently missing intelligence briefings given his health condition, after two surgeries and a painful recovery. The CM's office, however, denied all such media reports and allegations.