A day after a Shiv Sena MP requested party chief Uddhav Thackeray to declare support for National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu, a rebel MLA on Wednesday claimed that 12 out of 18 Sena MPs would soon join the Eknath Shinde-led faction.
Talking to reporters in his constituency in Jalgaon district, Gulabrao Patil, a minister in the previous Thackeray-led Maharashtra government, said the Shinde faction will restore the party's glory.
"We (rebel camp) have 40 out of 55 MLAs with us, and 12 out of 18 MPs are coming with us. So who does the party belong to? I have met four MPs personally. We also have 22 former MLAs with us," he said.
On Tuesday, Shiv Sena Lok Sabha member Rahul Shewale urged Thackeray to ask party MPs to support NDA's nominee Draupadi Murmu, considering her tribal roots and contribution to the social sector.
Both Uddhav Thackeray loyalists and the Eknath Shinde faction have claimed that their respective group represents the original Shiv Sena.
Of the 55 Sena MLAs, 40 are with Chief Minister Shinde.
Patil further said that they had not quit the party for power, but "left power while we were ministers."
"Not one, but eight ministers left the party. This means we want to save our Shiv Sena," he said.