Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray — locked in battle with Eknath Shinde for the control of the party formed by his father — has sacked several key leaders for anti-party activities. Mr. Shinde, who succeeded Mr. Thackeray in the post of Chief Minister after bringing down his government — has been quick to react, picking up the leaders discarded by the Thackeray camp.
So far, Team Thackeray has sacked former minister Vijay Shivtare, MLA Santosh Bangar, who was sacked as district chief of Hingoli, and Naresh Mhaske as Zilla pramukh (district chief) for Thane. Barring the first, both leaders have been reinstated by the Shinde camp, which claims to be the “real Shiv Sena”.
Mr Thackeray has also appointed more than 100 new office bearers in Thane, Palghar, Amravati, and Yavatmal districts. The new office-bearers are second-rung leaders elevated to the vacant posts left by rebels.
The pruning comes ahead of a crucial Supreme Court hearing on the huge political storm in Maharashtra following the rebellion by Eknath Shinde, which led to the installation of the Shinde-BJP combined government.
On Wednesday, the top court will hear a bunch of petitions from both sides on the disqualification of MLAs.
Of the 55 MLAs belonging to the party, 53 are on the disqualification list of one side or the other. Mr Thackeray has claimed that 16 MLAs of the Shinde faction, including Mr Shinde, should be disqualified.