MUMBAI: A bolt from the blue struck loyalist Shiv Sena workers as Tuesday’s rebellion led by
caused the party to stare at loss of power in the state. The party has weathered similar storms in decades gone by when Chhagan Bhujbal, Ganesh Naik, Sanjay Nirupam, Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray jumped ship, but this crisis appears to rock the very moorings of its 56-year existence.
Activists were glued to their mobile or TV sets through the day. The rank and file gathered outside the
and at CM
’s official bungalow, Varsha, to condemn the seismic shock of the 35-odd MLAs’ “betrayal”. Anger and tears welled over as men and women raised saffron flags, fists and slogans, swearing allegiance to Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena and promising to teach a lesson to the “traitors” who had “let down” the institution.
Anger was brewing among party workers. Shakha pramukhs decided to keep silent till further orders from the CM. “For over two weeks we had been hearing about a top Sena leader leaving the party with 20-25 MLAs. It was all a planned move,” claimed a functionary.
Senior politician Shishir Shinde from Mulund said, “Party activists and leaders of Shiv Sena will remain united and we will overcome any crisis situation,” he said. Workers at shakhas in Mulund showed complete support for CM Thackeray. Some said that the government was “not unstable” and will continue to rule Maharashtra for its remaining tenure of 2. 5 years.