'...that he was in talks with the SS-UBT and would return if his ministry was snatched away and given to one of the NCP ministers.'
If Eknath Shinde's rebellion against Uddhav Thackeray and his elevation later as Maharashtra's chief minister riding piggyback on the Bharatiya Janata Party's shoulders jolted the state's politics, the aftershocks from the same earthquake -- after full 13 months -- are likely to unravel Shinde's rebellion in the weeks ahead.
Not as big an earthquake that Shinde's rebellion in June 2022 brought in, but a rebellion of a similar nature could easily be brewing in Eknath Shinde and his newly acquired Shiv Sena.
The latest developments in the Shinde camp hint at widespread resentment among some of the 39 MLAs -- along with a couple of independent lawmakers -- who made Shinde's ascension to Maharashtra's throne possible in the first place.
If some MLAs belonging to the Shiv Sena are to be believed, then Eknath Shinde is likely to get a taste of the same medicine that he administered to Thackeray.
Some Shiv Sena MLAs, it is learnt, are openly threatening him that they will walk over to the Shiv Sena-Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray camp.
The first hint of such a rebellion was dropped by some MLAs -- who have been nourishing dreams of becoming ministers since Shinde was sworn in on June 30, 2022 -- and also some incumbent ministers -- who fear their berths could be pawned with some of the eight NCP ministers (which excludes Ajit Pawar) who were sworn in on July 2, 2023 and who are waiting in the wings to be allotted ministries.
These MLAs confronted Shinde at a late night meeting he called at Varsha, his official residence, on July 4, cutting short his Nagpur visit to welcome President Droupadi Murmu, to quell the disquiet caused by Ajit Pawar's induction into the government among his band of loyalists.
"One minister threatened Shinde saheb that he was in talks with the SS-UBT and would most certainly return if his ministry was snatched away and given to one of the NCP ministers," reveals another minister who was part of the midnight meeting that lasted for more than 90 minutes.
"One other minister almost came to raining blows upon this minister for threatening Shinde saheb so blatantly; it was indeed a very sad picture as nobody expected him to be so rude and direct," adds the minister narrating the incident.
According to a Shiv Sena MLA, Ministers Abdul Sattar, Gulabrao Patil and Sandeepan Bhumre, along with party Chief Whip Bharatsheth Gogawale and MLAs Sanjay Rathod and Sanjay Shirsat are weighing their options to join the SS-UBT if they are sidelined in the forthcoming ministerial expansion before the Maharashtra assembly's monsoon session begins on July 17.
"Shinde saheb assured all the disgruntled MLAs that their interests would be taken care of even as he and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis embark on a challenging rope trick to balance the interests of the NCP with that of the Shiv Sena," the MLA adds.
"Konala thauk Shinde sahebanni konala kaay ladu dilela tevha (Nobody knows what promises Eknath Shinde had offered to the 39 MLAs who quit the Shiv Sena with him for winning their support to succeed in his June 2022 rebellion against Thackeray)," is how the MLA describes the impending rebellion against Shinde if some ministers are sidelined and aspiring MLAs don't find their names in the next ministerial expansion.
"Motha bhukamp jhalyawar ashe chhote-chhote jhatke yetach rahtat (a big earthquake is often followed by mild aftershocks)," he adds.
Shiv Sena MLAs Bharatsheth Gogawale and Sanjay Shirsat and independent legislator Bachchu Kadu have publicly stated that given their experience and stature they are hopeful of becoming ministers in the forthcoming expansion.