Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said on Thursday that he did not think that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray would do an 'about-turn' and agree to the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs' demand that the Sena pull out of the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance.
Chavan was reacting to Sena MP Sanjay Raut's statement earlier in the day that the Sena was 'ready to consider' the demand of the MLAs led by Eknath Shinde that it should end the MVA alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.
"Does Sena want to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra? The motives of Shiv Sena are not yet clear," Chavan, a former chief minister, told reporters when asked about Raut's comment.
"I have not heard Uddhav Thackeray sounding like this in his Wednesday evening's public address. I would be surprised if Uddhav Thackeray does such an about-turn in less than 24 hours. I don't think that Thackeray would do that," he said.
"It was not even clear whether Raut was articulating the Sena's official stand," Chavan added.
"There is not even clarity about which faction of the Shiv Sena should be considered as authentic face of the party," the Congress leader added.
Shiv Sena was facing an internal rift and it needed to address it, he said, adding that his party has no say on developments within the Sena.
On Wednesday, Thackeray had reached out to rebels with an emotional appeal and offered to quit, saying he will be happy if a Shiv Sainik succeeded him as chief minister.
State NCP president Jayant Patil, meanwhile, said his party had not yet discussed Raut's comments.
"But we want this government to complete its full term as it has taken some good decisions," he added.
"Those who leave Sena lose the election later," Patil, a state minister, added.
On the rebel Sena MLAs' stand that they did not wish to be part of the MVA because of the 'corruption' of NCP and Congress ministers, Patil said the statements of individual legislators should not be treated as the Sena's official stand.
Praful Patel, another NCP leader, said that party chief Sharad Pawar 'formed the MVA and he still wishes that it remains intact'.
NCP leaders, including Sharad Pawar, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and Jayant Patil would be holding a meeting in Mumbai at 5 pm, he informed.