Uddhav Thackeray leaves the CM's home

On Wednesday, immediately after giving an impassioned address in support of the rebels headed by Eknath Shinde, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray relocated back to “Matoshree,” his family house, from his official residence “Varsha.”

Late that night, a sizable crowd gathered in front of Matoshree to show support. Videos taken at the scene showed the automobile having difficulty navigating the crowd. Mr Thackeray was seen exiting the vehicle and introducing himself to the guests.

They greeted each other politely before entering the home. Aaditya Thackeray, a state minister and son of Mr Thackeray, was also seen addressing the party members.

Covid has been detected in Mr Thackeray. But his move to the house where he grew up—closely identified with his father, Balasaheb Thackeray, the party’s founder—was seen as sending a message.

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Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Thackeray gave his first public response to the political crisis that had gripped his administration during a Facebook live speech “He should approach me and inform me if my own people do not want me to be their Chief Minister. I’m prepared to step down. I am Balasaheb’s son, and I’m not looking for a job. Let me quit if you wish me to and bring all I own to Matoshree “.

But a rider was present. “I’m ready to retire, but can you guarantee that the Shiv Sena would nominate the next chief minister?”

This was considered a direct challenge to Eknath Shinde, who had been portraying his party as the true Shiv Sena and referencing Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva philosophy to claim that the Sena led by his son was a “lite” version.

If the rebels overthrow Mr Thackeray’s administration and assist the BJP in gaining power, this is nearly an impossible wish list for them.

One of the main reasons the longtime partners split apart and the coalition collapsed was the BJP’s unwillingness to give Mr Thackeray the top position.

According to insiders in the Congress, the party broached the notion of giving Mr Shinde the top position to break the deadlock, along with the other partner in the governing coalition, Sharad Pawar.

Rumour has it that the rebels were approached with the offer during secretive negotiations.

With a letter to the governor and deputy speaker of the state legislature earlier today, Mr Shinde and his supporters ramped up their campaign.

Four Independent MLAs, out of the 34 renegade MLAs, identified Mr Shinde as their leader in the letter. The dissident minority said in a resolution that the partnership with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party and the ideologically opposing Congress had caused “enormous unhappiness” among party personnel.