'We are the real Shiv Sena and we will remain in the Sena.'
Even as the Maha Vikas Aghadi government challenged Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari's decision to call a floor test in the Maharashtra assembly on Thursday, June 30, in the Supreme Court, rebel Shiv Sena MLA in the Eknath Shinde camp decided to shift base to Goa by 4 pm today.
The MLAs have been staying at the Radison Blu hotel in Guwahati in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Assam the past week. Goa, like Assam, is ruled by a BJP government.
According to Cabinet minister Gulabrao Patil, one of the 39 rebel MLAs in the Shinde camp, this group will not merge with the BJP to form the next government come what may.
"We have no plans to merge with the BJP. We are the real Shiv Sena and we will remain in the Sena," Patil tells Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com over the phone on his way to Guwahati's Kamakhya Devi temple.
"Whatever the Supreme Court decision (on July 12 about the Maharashtra assembly deputy speaker's disqualification of 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs) about disqualification of our MLAs, we will remain with the Shiv Sena always," Patil asserts.
"All of us (rebel MLAs) are on our way to visit the Kamakhya Devi temple just now. We will reach Goa by 4 pm," Patil says.
"Let Uddhav saheb (Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray) take the decision based on how the numbers are stacked in his favour. It will be his decision to resign before the trust vote or face the floor test," Patil says when asked about what the chief minister should do after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's decision to ask the MVA government to go in for a floor test on June 30.
Ask him about Eknath Shinde's mood, he says, "Ek dum zordar (He is in a terrific mood). We are all together in this and victory will be ours," claims Patil.
"It is wrong to call us rebels. We have been repeatedly telling Uddhav saheb about the difficulties we were facing. But nothing much happened. Still, our love and respect for saheb has not diminished a bit," Patil adds.
Pan chaha peksha ketli garam (The kettle is hotter than tea in it; a taunt to Uddhav's coterie)," he says expressing his unhappiness about being called a rebel and highlighting the background that made 38 Shiv Sena MLAs to join Eknath Shinde
"We are Balasaheb's Sainiks. We have spent long time in the party. We are grateful to Uddhav saheb for giving us what he has given, but we were never against him," says Patil.
"We also shed our blood and sweat for the party. We have gone to jail, went through trials in various cases, and toiled hard to grow the party. Shouldn't we get at least 20 per cent credit for doing so?" he asks.